SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

May 31, 2011

Kasich’s (charter school) Buddies

Bill could make schools’ suit moot

House’s changes in charter-school laws favor one operator


A Franklin County judge has given charter-school kingpin David L. Brennan and the schools suing his for-profit management company an additional 60 days to work on a new contract.

But Gov. John Kasich and GOP leaders in the General Assembly might resolve the year-old lawsuit sooner.    The Senate will decide next week whether to keep several charter-school provisions added to the budget by House Republicans at Brennan’s request.

Many involve issues at the center of the lawsuit against his White Hat Management Co., including one that would allow the for-profit company to keep secret how it spends tax dollars it receives to operate charter schools. Another would give White Hat possession of school desks, supplies and other items purchased with tax dollars, should a school close.    An attorney for the charter schools suing White Hat said that, if the budget bill is approved with the provisions left in, White Hat will claim that the lawsuit is effectively over and Brennan will have won.   

“White Hat will likely go back to the judge and say there aren’t any issues (left to decide). ‘We don’t owe them an accounting, the money is private, case dismissed,’” attorney Karen S. Hockstad said.

Overcoming such a legal hurdle would be very difficult. “We’ll be right back where we started, with the additional arguments that the legislation is unconstitutional and being applied retroactively,” she said.    House Speaker William G. Batchelder, who had repeatedly insisted that he did not know where the amendments came from, acknowledged yesterday that House Republicans acted at the request of Brennan.

  • The charter-school operator has been Ohio’s second-biggest campaign contributor, almost exclusively to Republicans, in the past decade.   (Who knew there was so much profit in Education?   Jan)

The Medina Republican’s remarks came during taping of Sunday’s Capital Square program on the Ohio News Network.    Charles R. Saxbe, Brennan’s attorney in Columbus, could not be reached.    A number of charter-school advocacy organizations, including the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, have sent the Senate a list of what they would like to see stay in the budget and what should be pulled. The group has serious concerns about much of the House-added language related to charter-school operators.    “We are optimistic that there will be some important changes that we have pushed for, along with other charter-school groups across the state,” said Stephanie Klupinski, vice president of government and public relations for the Alliance of Public Charter Schools.

Some GOP senators said they anticipate that much of the House charter language will be removed.

The White Hat case was to go to trial this week before Franklin County Common Pleas Judge John F. Bender. In postponing it, Bender asked both sides to try again to reach a new contract.

One of the nation’s largest charter-school operators, Brennan’s White Hat Management receives tens of millions in tax dollars each year to run more than 30 charter schools across Ohio. The schools are funded by the state like traditional public schools but are privately operated.    Last year, nine schools in the Akron and Cleveland areas filed a lawsuit against White Hat to terminate or renegotiate their contracts with the company.

Provisions added to the budget by House Republicans would allow for-profit companies to operate charter schools without a sponsor , a move that would give White Hat and similar companies complete control.

The lawmakers also agreed:

  • to ban the state from suspending or putting on probation charter schools with poor student performance, fiscal mismanagement or a law violation;
  • not to require charter schools to comply with any education law that doesn’t also apply to private schools;
  • and to make the renewal of a contract between a community school and its sponsor subject to the operator’s approval.

Dispatch reporters Jim Siegel and Joe Vardon contributed to this story.

(Not only is this all unbelievable – – it is unconscionable.  Only in Ohio with a governor called Kasich!    Jan)

Polio Virus 40 (SV40)

Dear Guest of!
by David P. Amrein

You could not call me an adversary of vaccinations in general. After all, animating the body to an immune reaction does not seem like such a bad idea. But vaccines also have their downsides, and I judge them more and more critically. The story of SV40 is just another piece of the puzzle.

The Story of the SV40 Cancer Virus and the Polio Vaccine

I admit to being somewhat polemic when calling the virus SV40 a “cancer virus”. While it has been clearly shown that SV40 can lead to tumor formation, it has not been studied well enough how much of a factor it is in human tumors and cancers.

In any case, the virus is frequently found in human tumors, and it is known to possess some oncogenes — gene sequences that can lead to tumor formation — that it builds into human DNA. Also, Dr. Clark describes in much detail the importance and role of SV40 in her later books on cancer.

Vaccination critics give many arguments against vaccines. The use of mercury compounds as preservatives (thiomersal or thimerosal) has been criticized and linked to autism. Others will say that the autism link has not been sufficiently proven and that newer vaccines do not contain thiomersal. Yet others say that vaccines still contain mercury and if not, then other preservatives that are as bad. Reason enough to make sure of what a vaccine contains that one is intending to be subjected to.

Critics also claim that in many cases the condition itself was caused by the vaccine.

Furthermore, the workability of vaccines is questioned. Flu vaccines are supposed to protect about 50% from flu — which still leaves the other 50%.

As exponents of the holistic approach finally, we also wonder whether it is not necessary for the immune system to be confronted with an infection from time to time to strengthen itself in the counter attack.

So I do have a lot of understanding for the arguments made, even though some of the the information on some vaccine critical websites is just not true, or exaggerated. A story that sounded like a conspiracy theory but then turned out to be factual is the spread of the SV40-virus throughout the whole population thanks to the polio vaccine. It is an old story but maybe not known enough or already half forgotten, but illustrates the potential danger of well-intentioned vaccination campaigns.

The polio vaccine was made from simian kidney cells, which were later found to contain the virus SV40. In the course of the general vaccination campaign of the late 50ies, SV40 was dispensed to large sections of the population. For a detailed account of the SV40-polio link, check this well referenced article: *

As many reasons as there are for vaccines, it is like with nuclear energy: I can see the benefit, but would rather err on the safe side

(*Rather than doing my own intro on this informative article (old as it is), I used David’s.  Also, I have downloaded it here for you, however all those references – I did not download – which is why I left the link up for you.  Many people (like me sometimes) like to see where a point is from – see for myself so-to-speak.  Jan)

Simian Virus 40 (SV40):

A Cancer Causing Monkey Virus

from FDA-Approved Vaccines

Michael E. Horwin, M.A., J.D.*

This article was originally published in the Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 13, Number 3, 2003

The Creation and Production of the Polio Vaccines

In the 1950s, scientists like Doctors Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin had isolated the poliovirus strains to make vaccines.[1] Dr. Salk’s strains would be inactivated with formaldehyde and injected into children. Dr. Sabin’s strains would be attenuated or weakened by transferring or passaging[2] the live viruses through different host cells and then fed to children orally.

Because his goal was to create a live attenuated vaccine, Dr. Sabin had to isolate the poliovirus strains and then passage the strains through a myriad of host cells in order to attain the right virulence—strong enough to illicit an immune response, but weak enough so as to not cause polio in the recipient. Sabin’s oral polio vaccine (OPV) is a trivalent vaccine and was, therefore, comprised of three types – Type I, II, and III. For example, Type I has the following lineage: In 1941, Drs. Francis and Mack isolated the Mahoney poliovirus “from the pooled feces of three healthy children in Cleveland.” [3] Dr. Salk then subjected the strain to passages through fourteen living monkeys and two cultures of monkey testicular cultures.[4] In 1954, the strain (now called Monk14 T2) was given to Drs. Li and Schaeffer who subjected the virus to nine more passages through monkey testicular cultures.[5] Next, the strain (now called Monk14 T11) underwent fifteen more passages in monkey testicular cultures, eighteen passages in monkey kidney cells, two passages through the skin of living rhesus monkeys, and additional passages through African Green monkey skin and monkey kidney cell cultures.[6] This strain was now called MS10 T43 or LS-c. In 1956, Dr. Sabin took this virus and passaged it through seven cultures of African Green Monkey kidney cells.[7] That same year, the pharmaceutical company, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, passed the strain (now called LS-c, 2ab/KP2) through a rhesus monkey kidney cell culture.[8] The resulting material was called Sabin Original Merck (SOM) and was provided to Lederle in 1960 as the seed material to manufacture its polio vaccine. Types II and III were created in a similar fashion.[9]

Once their strains were isolated, pharmaceutical companies needed a method to propagate the viruses in order to produce the vast quantities of vaccine needed for nation-wide immunization campaigns. This required a substrate upon which the poliovirus could be efficiently grown and harvested. Kidney cells from rhesus monkeys were chosen because they were found to be an effective growth medium.[10] A small quantity of poliovirus could be added to the minced kidneys surgically removed from these monkeys and within a few days, large quantities of poliovirus could then be harvested from these same monkey cells.

There was a problem, however, with using these monkey kidney cells to both create the original vaccine strains and grow the vaccine in large quantities. Monkeys contain simian viruses.[11] When the poliovirus was passaged through the monkeys or grown on the monkey kidney cells for production, extraneous viruses became part of the final poliovirus vaccine.[12] As early as 1953, Dr. Herald R. Cox, a scientist working at Lederle Laboratories, one of the polio vaccine manufacturers, published an article in a peer reviewed scientific journal in which he stated, “[P]oliomyelitis virus has so far been cultivated only in the tissues of certain susceptible species—namely, monkey or human tissues. Here again we would always be confronted with the potential danger of picking up other contaminating viruses or other microbic agents infectious for man.”[13] In fact, in 1958, a scientific journal reported that “the rate of isolation of new simian viruses (from monkey kidney cells) has continued unabated.”[14] Additionally, in 1960, the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. wrote to the U.S. Surgeon General:

  • Our scientific staff have emphasized to us that there are a number of serious scientific and technical problems that must be solved before we could engage in large-scale production of live poliovirus vaccine. Most important among these is the problem of extraneous contaminating simian viruses that may be extremely difficult to eliminate and which may be difficult if not impossible to detect at the present stage of the technology.[15]

The Discovery of Simian Virus 40 (SV40)

  • Between 1959 and 1960, Bernice Eddy, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Health (NIH) examined minced rhesus monkey kidney cells under a microscope.[16] These were the cells of the same species of monkeys used to create and produce the oral polio vaccine. Dr. Eddy discovered that the cells would die without any apparent cause. She then took suspensions of the cellular material from these kidney cell cultures and injected them into hamsters. Cancers grew in the hamsters.[17] Shortly thereafter, scientists at the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. discovered what would later be determined to be the same virus identified by Eddy.[18] This virus was named Simian Virus 40 or SV40 because it was the 40th simian virus found in monkey kidney cells.

In 1960, Doctors Benjamin Sweet and Maurice Hilleman, the Merck scientists who named the virus SV40, published their findings:

Viruses are commonly carried by monkeys and may appear as contaminants in cell cultures of their tissues, especially the kidney . . . . The discovery of this new virus, the vacuolating agent, represents the detection for the first time of a hitherto “non-detectable” simian virus of monkey renal cultures and raises the important question of the existence of other such viruses . . . . As shown in this report, all 3 types of Sabin’s live poliovirus vaccine, now fed to millions of persons of all ages, were contaminated with vacuolating virus.[19]

The vacuolating virus was another name for SV40.

In 1962, Dr. Bernice Eddy published her findings in the journal produced by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. She wrote:

There is now an impressive list of oncogenic (cancer causing) viruses—the rabbit papilloma, polyoma, Rous sarcoma, the leukemia viruses . . . . It has been known for a number of years that monkeys harbor latent viruses . . . . The (SV40) virus was injected at once into 13 newborn hamsters and 10 newborn mice. Subcutaneous neoplasms indistinguishable from those induced by the rhesus monkey kidney extracts developed in 11 of the 13 hamsters between 156 and 380 days . . . .[20]

Subsequent studies performed in the early 1960s demonstrated that SV40 caused brain tumors in animals[21] and that SV40 could transform or turn cancerous normal human tissue in vitro.[22] A disturbing experiment performed during this era also suggested that SV40 could cause human cancers in man in vivo.[23] In 1964, Fred Jensen and his colleagues took tissue from patients who were terminally ill with cancer.[24] They exposed the tissue to SV40 and then after it was transformed, they implanted the tissue back into the patient.[25] These implants grew into tumors in their human hosts.[26] This suggested the possibility that SV40 could cause cancers in man.

New Regulations are Implemented

By 1960, the Salk injectable polio vaccine (IPV) had been administered to about 98 million American children and adults, and Sabin’s OPV had been administered to about 10,000 Americans and millions in the USSR where the clinical trials had been conducted.[27] It was estimated that 10% to 30% of the vaccines contained live SV40.[28] The federal agency in charge of vaccine licensing and safety at the time was the Division of Biologics Standards (DBS) of the National Institute of Health (NIH).[29] Incredibly, this agency did not order a recall of any of the SV40-contaminated vaccines.[30] The tainted vaccines continued to be administered until 1963 when they were all used and replaced by allegedly SV40-free vaccines as required by the new federal regulations promulgated in 1961.[31]

  • On March 25, 1961, the federal regulations that controlled the production of oral poliovirus vaccine were amended.[32] These new regulations did not require the vaccine manufacturers to discard their SV40-contaminated poliovirus seeds which were the source for all subsequent polio vaccines.[33] Instead, the rules required that “[e]ach seed virus used in manufacture shall be demonstrated to be free of extraneous microbial agents.”[34] The new regulations also required that each pair of monkey kidneys removed from a monkey for vaccine production “shall be examined microscopically for evidence of cell degeneration.”[35] Furthermore, fluid from the monkey kidney cells had to be combined with other tissue cultures in order to detect if there was any contaminating virus.[36] The regulations required that “[t]he cultures shall be observed for at least 14 days.”[37]

In essence these regulations required an SV40 test that was comprised of taking the monkey kidney cells upon which the vaccine would be grown and: 1) Looking at them through a microscope to see if they demonstrated SV40; 2) Taking fluids from them; 3) Introducing those fluids into other cell cultures; 4) Waiting 14 days; and 5) Seeing whether the other cell cultures were changed as a result of the presence of SV40. These tests were not designed to detect the contaminating viruses themselves. One cannot see SV40 or any virus with a standard light microscope or the naked eye. Instead, the government’s SV40 test relied on the observation of the presumed effect of an SV40 infection on certain tissue cells to demonstrate the presence of the virus.

On November 8, 1961, after the new regulations were in force, an internal Lederle Laboratories memo stated that three lots of OPV that had been released for clinical trials were probably contaminated with SV40.[38] The memo states, “The decision by Dr. Murray to allow SV40 to be present at the PCB-2 level was the basis for our allowing these lots to pass.”[39] The PCB-2 level comprised one set of fluids taken from the monkey kidney cells and introduced into other cell cultures to detect SV40.[40] It was used to perform the 14-day observation tests for the presence of SV40 and had indicated that these particular polio harvests were SV40 contaminated.[41] “Dr. Murray” referred to above is Dr. Roderick Murray who was the director of the Division of Biologics Standards (DBS) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) from 1955 to 1972.[42] It is unknown why, according to this internal memorandum, the DBS would allow polio vaccines to be released when the very tests designed to find SV40 produced positive results of SV40 infection.

A. The Scientific Rationale for the New Regulations

In 1962, an article received for publication on September 29, 1961, appeared in the Journal of Immunology; entitled, Studies on Simian Virus 40, it was written by scientists from the DBS of the NIH.[43] This article presented the rationale for the new SV40 safety regulations that would remain in place, ostensibly unchanged, for the next four decades.[44] The article’s lead author was Harry M. Meyer, Jr.[45] Dr. Meyer would succeed Dr. Murray as the director of the DBS and would hold this post from 1972 to 1987.[46]

This article discussed some of the challenges with SV40 and polio vaccine production including the fact that the time required for SV40 to show itself in tissue culture tests was “directly related” to the amount of SV40 present.[47] In other words, the testing required by the federal regulations for SV40 detection was dependent on the amount of SV40 present.

The authors also pointed out that it could take up to thirty-five days for SV40 detection when the virus was removed from the blood of an infected monkey.[48] Interestingly, however, the authors also stated that it took only eleven days for low doses of SV40[49] to be detected when it was removed from monkey kidney cells.[50] This was reportedly based on a single experiment. The eleven-day result was significant because the regulations only required fourteen days of observation.[51] If low doses of SV40 could be detected in eleven days then the fourteen-day observation period would be sufficient. A close reading of this article, however, reveals that this crucial study was at best incomplete.

B. A Critique of the Scientific Basis of the New Regulations

The authors of the Journal of Immunology article stated that 10 to 100 TCID50 or “Tissue Culture Infective Dose” of SV40 was detected in eleven days.[52] TCID50 is defined as that dilution of virus required to infect 50% of a given batch of inoculated cell cultures.[53] Therefore, a titer of 10 to 100 TCID50 represents a substantial amount of SV40 because one-half of the cells are infected. In other words, if it took a certain sized dose to infect 50% of the cells in eleven days, it would probably take a substantially smaller dose to infect 1% of the cells in the same period. This smaller dose would then take longer to infect 50% of the cell cultures. Therefore, this article left out the important fact that very low doses of SV40 would most likely not be detected in eleven days.

Second, the government scientists used pure SV40 as a surrogate for SV40-contaminated monkey kidney cells.[54] There is no study that demonstrates the validity of this. During vaccine production, polio seed virus is inoculated into monkey kidney cells in order to grow the vaccine. Samples of these cells are set aside and fluids are drawn off and injected into other cell cultures to test for the presence of SV40. Since these fluids are drawn from monkey kidney cells, they contain a variety of viruses, cellular components, growth medium, and other debris. The sensitivity of the SV40 test for detection of SV40 from this amalgam was the important public health question. The Division of Biologics Standards, however, did not perform this test, or if they did, they did not report their findings. Instead, they used pure SV40 without any other ingredients to determine that eleven days was sufficient.

This flaw in the methodology was demonstrated when the authors discussed the fact that after three weeks of observation, SV40 did not appear from the kidneys of four monkeys that were known to carry SV40 antibodies in their blood. The government scientists stated, “[T]he failure to demonstrate virus in the renal tissue of an appreciable number of rhesus monkeys that had been infected some time earlier was of interest.”[55] This is an admission that even after three weeks of observation (one week longer than the federally mandated two-week observation period) the SV40 from the kidneys of SV40 contaminated monkeys (not pure SV40) did not reveal itself in culture. Unfortunately, the government scientists did not act on this important observation other than to note that it “was of interest.”

Third, the eleven-day finding was apparently based on a single experiment.[56] There is no mention of it being repeated to ensure the accuracy of the results as required by the scientific method.

By 1965, it was well established in the scientific literature that there were several problems with the SV40 tests mandated by the Code of Federal Regulations. First, the fourteen-day SV40 tests were not long enough to detect the virus.[57] In fact, numerous experiments by leading virologists (all non-governmental scientists) found that it took from two to five weeks for the detection of low doses of SV40.[58] Second, there were more sophisticated microbiological tools available that could detect SV40 with greater accuracy.[59] These tests were all widely used and accepted virological techniques. Third, there were several more sophisticated measures available to eliminate SV40 from cultures used to make the poliovirus vaccine.[60] Nonetheless, despite the mounting scientific evidence that the SV40 tests were crude and unreliable, the regulations were not changed and oral polio vaccine manufacturers did not voluntarily adopt any technical improvements to ensure that SV40 was detected and eliminated from their products.

The Flawed Epidemiology

After SV40 was originally detected in the Salk and Sabin vaccines that had been administered to millions of children around the world, the scientific community held its breath and wondered if these children would be stricken with cancer.[61] Indeed, the pediatric cancer rate continued to climb through the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.[62] But, the few epidemiological studies that looked for a direct link between SV40 and human cancer provided inconsistent conclusions. Some reports found that there was an increased risk of cancer from SV40 exposure[63] and others found that there was no risk.[64] Each of these studies suffered from major flaws including the fact that no one knew who actually received the SV40-contaminated vaccines and who did not, so it was impossible to compare an SV40-exposed group with a non-exposed group.[65]

SV40—A Human Carcinogen

By 1999, numerous pathologists, microbiologists, and virologists throughout the world had detected SV40 in a variety of human cancers such as brain tumors[66] including medulloblastomas,[67] bone cancers,[68] and mesotheliomas[69] a fatal lung cancer. These were the very same cancers that were created when SV40 was introduced into animal[70] The advent of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology that could identify the genetic code of specific strands of DNA demonstrated with precision that it was this monkey virus that was being detected in human cancers and no other.[71]   Moreover, the rates of these particular cancers had steadily increased over the last few decades.[72] The question that had been left unanswered for almost four decades now faced scientists again—was SV40 responsible for causing or contributing to human cancers?

Over the last forty years since its discovery, SV40 had become one of the most widely studied and best understood viruses in microbiology.[73] It was routinely used to create human cancers in the laboratory in order to test cancer therapies.[74] In addition, it is now known how this virus caused cancer on a molecular level. After careful study documented in peer reviewed publications, leaders in SV40 research announced that SV40 was a class 2A human carcinogen.[75]

The Government’s Response

Nonetheless, the various United States government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) disputed these conclusions. According to the CDC, “SV40 virus has been found in certain types of cancer in humans, but it has not been determined that SV40 causes these cancers.”[76] According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “the NCI is continuing to evaluate the possible link between SV40 infection and human cancers.”[77] A question has been raised whether this continuing evaluation is being performed with complete scientific integrity.    One article written by an attorney and published in a peer reviewed scientific journal describes how the NCI deliberately compromised a study that would have demonstrated the association between SV40 and mesothelioma.[78]

While the United States government continues to evaluate whether or not SV40 represents a public health threat and whether SV40 is a human carcinogen, several scientists at the NCI concluded that SV40 contributed to the formation of mesotheliomas.[79] In fact, the federal government has licensed technology to target SV40 in the treatment of human mesotheliomas.[80]

SV40 and the Public Health

Despite the government’s foot dragging, in the last several years, scientists from around the world have made startling and disturbing discoveries. They have found SV40 antibodies in a significant percentage of people including children who were too young to receive the SV40 contaminated vaccines of the early 1960’s.[81] They have also discovered that cancers with SV40 are less likely to be responsive to chemotherapy and radiation because SV40 interferes with the genes necessary for cancer cells to die when they are exposed to chemo or radiation therapy.[82]

The Institute of Medicine Report

In July 2002, the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine (IOM) Immunization Safety Committee convened a study into SV40 and cancer which culminated in a report published in October 2002. According to the IOM report “SV40 Contamination of Polio Vaccine and Cancer”:

The committee concludes that the biological evidence is strong that SV40 is a transforming [i.e., cancer-causing] virus, . . . that the biological evidence is of moderate strength that SV40 exposure could lead to cancer in humans under natural conditions, [and] that the biological evidence is of moderate strength that SV40 exposure from the polio vaccine is related to SV40 infection in humans.[83]

May 30, 2011

PhRMA corners cannabis

(Here’s why “medical marijuana” is having such a hard time in many states gaining approval. . Big PhRMA sees the potential. and wants it – big time!   So the foot dragging is not about the “evils” of pot – – no, no, it’s the business of cornering it for Big PhRMA, then we can see how sweet it is. . . no longer evil, but beneficial.   Jan)


Is Big Pharma set to corner the American market on medical marijuana?

By Kyle Daly | 04.19.11

The American Independent has previously reported on the growing corporatization of the incipient medical marijuana industry at a time when medical marijuana dispensaries scrabble to hold on to their businesses in the face of a multi-pronged federal crackdown. But there are signs afoot that it just may become ever more corporate if a Big Pharma push to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to recognize a cannabis-derived drug is successful.

Last week, British prescription drug manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals announced a licensing agreement with drug giant Novartis, maker of Ritalin and Excedrin, to begin selling GW’s drug Sativex in markets across Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle East. The medication is already available in Britain, where it’s produced and marketed by Bayer, and in Canada and Spain. It’s on the market in those countries as a liquid that patients spray under the tongue and is prescribed primarily for sufferers of multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Sativex: Liquefied marijuana

If the name “Sativex” rings a distant bell, that’s because it’s derived from Cannabis sativa, the scientific name for the plant from which both hemp and marijuana are harvested. It’s an appropriate name because, unlike other cannabinoids produced for recreational and medicinal use (and plagued by side effects not present in natural cannabinoids), Sativex is not a synthetic concoction, but essentially liquefied marijuana. It’s an extract of whole-plant cannabis that includes the psychoactive agent THC as well as cannabidiol (CBD), the chemical thought to be responsible for some of the anti-nausea and cancer-cell-killing effects of medical marijuana.

While the official word from GW is that the THC and CBD balance each other out to provide marijuana’s medicinal effects without an accompanying high, cannabis expert and professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School Dr. Lester Grinspoon has said just upping the dosage would provide the same effects as recreational marijuana.

Early in Sativex’s development, GW hired Dr. Andrea Barthwell as a consultant to sing the drug’s praises, although she’s no longer in the employ of GM. Barthwell was a deputy drug czar under George W. Bush and is the former president of the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM). In a recent ASAM press release, Barthwell denounced medical marijuana but — significantly — only because it was unregulated by the federal government.

“The safety and advisability of any prescriptive medicine should depend on years of careful scientific scrutiny, not whims at the ballot box by individuals who lack the qualifications to make such decisions. Allowing cannabis to circumvent FDA approval sets a dangerous precedent and puts us on a slippery slope,” Barthwell says in the release.

  • “There’s certainly an inconsistency in the fact that she speaks publicly about the negative impact of marijuana even though she’s been paid by a company that sells it,” says Steve Fox, chief lobbyist for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “It would be one thing if she were representing the American Society Against Bronchitis and said, ‘I am so concerned that people are smoking a substance that’s not good for their bronchial tubes.’ But she’s speaking for the ASAM.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Congress’s top recipient of campaign funds from the pharmaceutical industry, has come out against state medical marijuana laws, despite being an advocate of states’ rights on issues like allowing offshore drilling. The likes of Barthwell and Burr have drawn the ire of supporters for the reform of marijuana laws who believe that they represent the pharmaceutical industry’s goal for medical marijuana: demonize it, prosecute it, shut it down, then grab the market.

(Neither Barthwell nor Burr was available to comment for this story at the time of publish.)

Certainly, such a fight would benefit from proclamations like Barthwell’s distinction between government-approved drugs derived from cannabis and unregulated cannabis itself, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s recognition (later qualified) of the medical benefits of marijuana. That could be exactly what GW is banking on as it works with companies to expand the availability of Sativex around the world. And the one major market left untapped by either Novartis or Bayer (GW’s partners in making and selling Sativex) is the United States. That’s where Otsuka Pharmaceutical comes in.

Otsuka, America’s potential Sativex supplier

Otsuka is an international prescription drug company based out of Japan. In 2007, GW and Otsuka announced that the latter company would be taking on clinical trials for Sativex in the U.S. In November of last year, Otsuka wrapped up its Phase II trials testing the drug’s efficacy and safety and met with the FDA to discuss the next step in getting the drug recognized by the federal agency. Phase III was then set to begin, though Otsuka’s website for the Phase III trials indicates that they’re still being set up.

Otsuka declined to comment to The American Independent on how close Sativex is to FDA approval or how far along the Phase III trials are, but Phase III is typically the final step in a drug’s path to pharmacies. Even getting to Phase III means the FDA has signed off on earlier test results and needs to see them confirmed in a large-scale study before advancing the drug. For its part, the FDA does not comment on ongoing clinical trials.

Pharmaceutical insiders would claim that Sativex is simply a regulated, tested cannabinoid that is demonstrably safe in ways that black-market and state-legal whole-plant medical marijuana isn’t. And yet by its very definition (PDF), Sativex is marijuana, albeit with a lower THC count in the recommended dose than is present in the raw plant.

Can pharmaceutical clout bring FDA approval?

So how are pharmaceutical companies looking to succeed where medical marijuana dispensaries are failing in getting marijuana recognized by the FDA without any federal agencies breathing down their necks? One answer could be in the clout the industry holds in Washington.

The pharmaceutical industry is far and away the biggest spender on federal lobbying. Between 1998 and 2010, Big Pharma spent more than $2 billion sending lobbyists to the capital to fight for industry-friendly legislation and regulations. This is over half a billion more than the amount spent in the same period by pharmaceuticals’ closest competitor, the insurance industry, and nearly twice what oil and gas companies spent. The medical marijuana lobby, less than six months old and consisting almost entirely of Steve Fox (backed by NCIA director Aaron Smith and a handful of dispensary owners and enthusiasts), could never compete.

All this puts the surging federal clampdown on medical marijuana in a new light. As nationwide support for medical marijuana reaches record levels, it may just be the pharmaceutical industry that rides that wave of support to huge profits.

Vampire Bat’s stroke potential

Researchers say bat could aid stroke victims

Neurologists hope anticoagulant in vampire bat saliva can help break up life-threatening clots


FILE PHOTO    The vampire bat uses an anticoagulant in its saliva to keep its victims’ blood flowing. The same compound could aid stroke patients.

Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke in the United States.   Every 48 hours, vampire bats must feed on the blood of unsuspecting victims or starve to death.  While these might seem like completely isolated phenomena, there is a connection.

There is a protein in the vampire bat’s saliva that might one day benefit stroke sufferers, especially those who ignore their symptoms for several hours before calling 911 or going to the hospital. “Time is brain,” said Dr. Michel Torbey, a neurologist and stroke expert at Ohio State University Medical Center. “The longer treatment is delayed, the higher the risk of significant brain damage.”  

                                                                                                 TESSA BARGAINNIER DISPATCH                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dr. Michel Torbey is studying the compound at OSU Medical Center.

The vampire bat is a silent hunter that works best when undetected.    To remain invisible, it employs a few weapons.    Its teeth are so sharp a host often doesn’t feel the incision, especially with the anesthetic in the bats’ saliva to dull any pain.

Another is the enzyme, an anticoagulant, that keeps the blood flowing.    “This anticoagulant is much more powerful than anything that humans have made,” said Dr. Bill Schutt, a research associate with the American Museum of Natural History and professor of biology at Long Island University.   “When they bite a host, it actually keeps bleeding after the bat is done feeding. That’s why it looks like a bloody mess after a vampire bat has been there.”

This enzyme — called desmoteplase, or DSPA — is what interests stroke experts.    For more than eight years, researchers have studied it to see whether it can dissolve blood clots that starve the brain of oxygen during a stroke.    “When you inject (the enzyme) intravenously in a human it can also keep the blood flowing,” Torbey said.

Schutt said researchers also are looking at the saliva of leeches, which contains a slightly different anticoagulant.

*                    *                   *

Right now, the only drug approved to treat stroke victims is tPA, which works best if given within three hours of the first symptoms.    DSPA, which has been dubbed draculin for obvious reasons, might extend the treatment window to nine hours.    That’s huge, stroke experts say.    “Strokes are a very common disease that we don’t have a lot of options for,” said Dr. Ron Budzik, a neuroradiologist at Riverside Methodist Hospital, which is involved in the new study.    “We’re cautiously optimistic.”

In the 1980s, researchers discovered the bat saliva enzyme was genetically related to tPA.   Since then, it has been studied in labs across the world.    DSPA’s potential was first tested in mice in 2003. In 2006, Ohio State was one of the first institutions to test the drug on humans. Those tests looked at safety.    Budzik said some researchers believe DSPA has the potential to bond to blood clots better than tPA.   He also said DSPA presents less of a risk for complications with bleeding.

Torbey said preliminary efficacy trials yielded mixed results.    “In some people it didn’t make a difference,” Torbey said, “but we saw that it was working in one group of patients with blood clots.”    In fact, those trials showed that the drug was effective for those patients suffering ischemic strokes, during which a clot blocks blood flow to the brain. This is the most common type of stroke and occurs in about 87 percent of victims, according to the American Stroke Association.

.  *                        *                    *

For the new trial, OSU Medical Center,   Riverside and other centers will enroll patients experiencing ischemic stroke. They will receive DSPA three to nine hours after the onset of the stroke.    Budzik said DSPA will be given if doctors cannot administer tPA or perform other interventional treatment.

At least 60 sites nationwide will enroll a total of 400 patients in the trial, which is sponsored by Danish pharmaceutical giant H. Lundbeck A/S.    Another phase efficacy trial is currently ongoing in other locations around the world.    Torbey said focusing on ischemic stroke victims should provide more definitive results.   That would move things closer to FDA approval.

.*                  *                 *

Justin Sattin, a University of Wisconsin neurologist, helped oversee a number of DSPA trials and currently is involved in the new study.    While he is cautious about the enzyme’s success,   Sattin said there is one clear advantage.  When doctors administer tPA, they have to give an initial shot and follow up with an IV.    “(DSPA) is easier to give,” he said. “It’s just a shot.”

Sattin said that if the trials go well, doctors hope to use advanced imaging technology to spot major clots in stroke patients that could be dissolved with DSPA.    Despite the success of tPA and the promise of DSPA, the National Stroke Association continues to stress the importance of acting quickly when people experience stroke symptoms.    “Increasing general awareness about the urgency of calling 911 at any stroke symptom onset is a priority,” said Taryn Forte, spokeswoman for the association.

Stroke by the numbers

  •  795,000 Number of people who suffer a stroke each year
  • 137,000 Number of people who die of stroke each year
  • $68 billion Cost of stroke each year in health care services, medications and missed work                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vampire bat

Desmodus rotundus

DIET    The bat exclusively eats fresh blood, mostly from cattle and horses.

FEEDING    It goes in at ground level, usually nicking the heel and Achilles tendon area of the foot, and-drinks for about 30 minutes.

RANGE    Northern Mexico to central Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. It also appears on the islands of Trinidad and Margarita off northern Venezuela.

REPRODUCTION    It breeds throughout the year. The female gives birth to a single young that weighs only about a quarter ounce.

BEHAVIOR    The bat is highly social and unique because it can walk, run, hop and climb on the ground. Sources: Philadelphia Zoo, National Geographic

May 29, 2011

BT Toxin in our blood (Jeff Smith)


View this article on our website.

Watch this two minute video, Double Dipping Danger, produced by Alex Bogusky, and then read about new evidence below showing even more harm from genetically modified foods. Click HERE to play.

Dangerous Toxins From Genetically Modified Plants Found in Women and Fetuses

by Jeffrey M. Smith

When U.S. regulators approved Monsanto’s genetically modified “Bt” corn, they knew it would add a deadly poison into our food supply. That’s what it was designed to do. The corn’s DNA is equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that produces the Bt-toxin. It’s a pesticide; it breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.

But Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) swore up and down that it was only insects that would be hurt. The Bt-toxin, they claimed, would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and not have any impact on all of us trusting corn-eating consumers.

Oops. A study just proved them wrong.

Doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found the corn’s Bt-toxin in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women. (Specifically, the toxin was identified in 93% of 30 pregnant women, 80% of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67% of 39 non-pregnant women.) The study has been accepted for publication in the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology.

According to the UK Daily Mail, this study, which “appears to blow a hole in” safety claims, “has triggered calls for a ban on imports and a total overhaul of the safety regime for genetically modified (GM) crops and food.” Organizations from England to New Zealand are now calling for investigations and for GM crops to be halted due to the serious implications of this finding.

Links to allergies, auto-immune disease, and other disorders

There’s already plenty of evidence that the Bt-toxin produced in GM corn and cotton plants is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. The fact that it flows through our blood supply, and that is passes through the placenta into fetuses, may help explain the rise in many disorders in the US since Bt crop varieties were first introduced in 1996.

In government-sponsored research in Italy, mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses. Their elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, for example, are typically associated with allergies and infections. The mice had an increase in cytokines, which are associated with “allergic and inflammatory responses.” The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer (see chart).

Elevated interleukinsAssociationsIL-6Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer (multiple myeloma and prostate cancer)IL-13Allergy, allergic rhinitis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)MIP-1bAutoimmune disease and colitis.IL-12p70Inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis

The young mice in the study also had elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases. The Bt corn that was fed to these mice, MON 810, produced the same Bt-toxin that was found in the blood of women and fetuses.

When rats were fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, their immune systems were also activated, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells. These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of toxicity in the liver and kidneys.

Natural Bt is dangerous

Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for years. But they spray it on plants, where it washes off and biodegrades in sunlight. The GM version is built-in; every plant cell has its own spray bottle. The toxin doesn’t wash off; it’s consumed. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray; is designed to be even more toxic; and has properties of known allergens—it actually fails the World Health Organization’s allergen screening tests.

The biotech companies ignore the substantial difference between the GM toxin and the natural bacteria version, and boldly claim that since the natural spray has a history of safe use in agriculture, it’s therefore OK to put the poison directly into our food. But even this claim of safe use of Bt spray ignores peer-reviewed studies showing just the opposite.

When natural Bt-toxin was fed to mice, they had tissue damage, immune responses as powerful as cholera toxin, and even started reacting to other foods that were formerly harmless. Farm workers exposed to Bt also showed immune responses. The EPA’s own expert Scientific Advisory Panel said that these mouse and farm worker studies “suggest that Bt proteins could act as antigenic and allergenic sources.”But the EPA ignored the warnings. They also overlooked studies showing that about 500 people in Washington state and Vancouver showed allergic and flu-like symptoms when they were exposed to the spray when it was used to kill gypsy moths.

Bt cotton linked to human allergies, animal deaths

Indian farm workers are suffering from rashes and itching and other symptoms after coming into contact with Bt cotton.

Now thousands of Indian farm laborers are suffering from the same allergic and flu-like symptoms as those in the Pacific Northwest simply from handling genetically engineered cotton plants that produce Bt-toxin. According to reports and records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, as well as numerous investigative reports and case studies, workers are struggling with constant itching and rashes; some take antihistamines every day in order to go to work.

It gets worse.

All thirteen buffalo of a small Indian village died after grazing for a single day on Bt cotton plants.

When they allow livestock to graze on the Bt cotton plants after harvest, thousands of sheep, goats, and buffalo died. Numerous others got sick. I visited one village where for seven to eight years they allowed their buffalo to graze on natural cotton plants without incident. But on January 3rd, 2008, they allowed their 13 buffalo to graze on Bt cotton plants for the first time. After just one day’s exposure, all died. The village also lost 26 goats and sheep.

One small study in Andhra Pradesh reported that all six sheep that grazed on Bt cotton plants died within a month, while the three controls fed natural cotton plants showed no adverse symptoms.

Living pesticide factories inside us?

Getting back to the Bt-toxin now circulating in the blood of North American adults and newborns—how did it get there? The study authors speculate that it was consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class. They even suggest that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn—as most livestock are.

I’d like to speculate on another possible source. But I warn you, it’s not pretty.

The only human feeding study every published on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was conducted on Roundup Ready soybeans. Here’s their back story: Scientists found bacteria growing in a chemical waste dump near their factory, surviving the presence of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The herbicide normally kills bacteria, but this organism had some special gene that allowed it to survive. So Monsanto scientists figured, “Let’s put it into the food supply!”

By forcing that genes from that bacterium into soybean plants’ DNA, the plants then survive an otherwise deadly dose of Roundup herbicide—hence the name Roundup Ready.

In the human study, some of the subjects were found to have Roundup Ready gut bacteria! This means that sometime in the past, from eating one or more meals of GM soybeans, the gene that had been discovered in the chemical waste dump and forced into the soy, had transferred into the DNA of bacteria living inside their intestines—and continued to function. That means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have dangerous GM proteins produced continuously inside of us.

When the results of the study emerged, the funding from the pro-GMO UK government mysteriously dried up, so they were not able to see if the same type of gene transfer happens with Bt genes from, say, corn chips. If it does, it means that eating Bt corn might turn our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories—continually manufacturing Bt-toxin from within our digestive systems.

I don’t know of a test that can confirm that this is happening, but the Canada study may be showing the results—where Bt-toxins are found in the blood of a very high percentage of people.

If the “living pesticide factory” hypothesis is correct, we might speculate even further. Bt-toxin breaks open the stomach of insects. Could it similarly be damaging the integrity of our digestive tracts? The biotech companies insist that Bt-toxin doesn’t bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals, and therefore humans. But here too they ignore peer-reviewed published evidence showing that Bt-toxin does bind with mouse small intestines and with intestinal tissue from rhesus monkeys. In the former study, they even found “changes in the electrophysiological properties” of the organ after the Bt-toxin came into contact.

If Bt-toxins were causing leaky gut syndrome in newborns, the passage of undigested foods and toxins into the blood from the intestines could be devastating. Scientists speculate that it may lead to autoimmune diseases and food allergies. Furthermore, since the blood-brain barrier is not developed in newborns, toxins may enter the brain causing serious cognitive problems. Some healthcare practitioners and scientists are convinced that this is the apparent mechanism for autism.

Thus, if Bt genes were colonizing the bacteria living in the digestive tract of North Americans, we might see an increase in gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and childhood learning disorders—since 1996 when Bt crops came on the market. Physicians have told me that they indeed are seeing such an increase.

The discovery of Bt-toxin in our blood does not confirm all this speculation, but it does provide food for thought. And hopefully, that food is non-GMO.

Our Institute for Responsible Technology joins other organizations worldwide calling for an immediate ban on GM food crops, and the commencement of rigorous independent scientific research on the safety of GMOs in general, and Bt-toxin in particular.

Action Alert: While we work for a ban on GMOs, in the mean time click here to sign a petition for President Obama to require labeling.

Jeffrey M. Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, author of the #1 international bestselling book on GMOs, Seeds of Deception, and of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. To avoid GMOs, which is the advice of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, visit

For references to this blog, go to:

May 28, 2011

Gates – vaccinate all kids


Bill Gates: Make vaccines more affordable for poor countries; calls for better immunization programs


Tuesday, May 17th 2011

Bill Gates: 'If donors are generous, we will prevent 4 million deaths by 2015.'


Bill Gates: ‘If donors are generous, we will prevent 4 million deaths by 2015.’

Bill Gates called on Tuesday for strengthened immunization programs against infectious diseases to save 4 million lives by 2015 and 10 million lives by 2020 during a “decade of vaccines.”

The Microsoft founder and philanthropist said five or six new vaccines could be available by the end of the decade and urged pharmaceutical manufacturers to make them affordable for poor countries.

“If donors are generous, we will prevent 4 million deaths by 2015. By 2020, we can prevent 10 million deaths,” Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said.

He was addressing the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, attended by health ministers from the U.N. agency’s 193 member states.

All countries should aim to have 90 percent immunization coverage against diseases including polio, meningitis and pneumonia, Gates said.

“We can meet these goals with your leadership. And that will be critical to really making this the decade of vaccines,” he said. “It might be the most difficult thing we’ve ever done, but it will also be the most important.”

(. . and yet from NaturalNews on this same subject, see the following. . . . .   .    .Jan)

Gates has been an outspoken proponent of vaccinations for years. His organization, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is constantly promoting vaccines anywhere and everywhere it can. The group’s website, in fact, says one of its goals is to vaccinate every single child on the planet, claiming that vaccines are “one of the most effective health interventions ever developed” (…).

Among his many speeches, however, Gates has given conflicting information concerning the agenda behind his vaccination push. In his most recent speech, he claims vaccines will save lives. But in a speech he gave at a TED conference last year, Gates clearly stated that vaccines and health care were part of an equation to reduce the world’s population by 15 percent.

“The world today has 6.8 billion people … that’s headed up to about nine billion,” he said to his audience. “Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps ten or 15 percent.”

You can watch the actual clip of Gates saying this at the following link:…

So which is it? Do vaccines help to save lives or end lives? When considering that vaccines are loaded with toxic adjuvants and chemical preservatives, many of which are known to cause serious health problems, sterility, and even death, the latter conclusion makes a lot more sense.

Learn more:

May 27, 2011

Autism – from us or vaccinations?

Filed under: autism - chemically induced — Jan Turner @ 12:53 pm

PASSING THE BUCK to the people

(Can anybody in his right mind accept this latest wrinkle to divert vaccination as an assault on immature immune systems of our babies as causation for autism?    Historically, autism was rare and humans have been reproducing through the ages with out a hitch.   Then, with the advent of inoculations, followed closely by their proliferation in ever increasing numbers, severe damage to our offspring has become a crap-shoot and very commonplace with current numbers and ratios staggering.  How is it possible that the scientific community cannot add two and two and come up with the obvious?   The answer is – they can!   There is evidence everywhere of doctors and biologists who see the truth and are constrained from speaking truth to power.

It is not clear in my head when government stopped being “for the people” and instead, is controlled by the corporate structure who is in bed on every level of government thru all the governing agencies.  We are being destroyed by chemicals

It is however, a bridge too far to blame  women for not taking prenatal vitamins (before they even knew they were pregnant)! This is not Sesame Street here folks – – this is actually happening.    Jan)

Vitamins, genetic trait linked to autism risk


LOS ANGELES — Women who reported not taking prenatal vitamins immediately before and during a pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism, researchers at the University of California, Davis, reported yesterday.   If the women also had a mutation in a high-risk gene, they were seven times as likely to have a child with the developmental disorder, the researchers reported in the online edition of the journal  Epidemiology.

Epidemiologist Rebecca J. Schmidt of the UC Davis MIND Institute and her colleagues studied about 700 northern California families with 2- to 5-year-old children with autism who were participants in the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment study from January 2003 to December 2009. In telephone interviews, the mothers were asked whether and when they took prenatal vitamins and the type of vitamins ingested.

The team found that mothers who took the vitamins prenatally or during the first month of pregnancy were only half as likely to have a child with autism as those who didn’t. For mothers who began taking them in the second month of pregnancy, there was no effect, however. This suggests that by the time most women learn they are pregnant, beginning to take the vitamins will provide little or no benefit in terms of autism.   

The researchers also found strong associations with two gene mutations that previously had been linked to autism risk. One is the variant of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR, gene associated with less-efficient metabolism of folic acid and increased blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.     (Diet related responses.  Jan)

The other was a variant of the catechol-O-methyltransferase, or COMT, gene, which is also linked to increased levels of homocysteine.    For women who did not take vitamins and had the MTHFR variant, the risk of having an autistic child was 4.5 times normal. For those who did not take vitamins and had the COMT variant, the risk was seven times normal.

(In these last two paragraphs, the health of the women being discussed comes off sounding as if they were simply flawed, hence, the results flowed therefrom.  In point of fact, their health-care was flawed in that their doctors didn’t do qualified blood tests to easily see what the body was doing with what it had and where it might need some nutritional intervention.  But of course, that would imply they would know how to do that.   And be motivated to.    aargh. . .Jan)

Married now a Minority

Married couples now in minority in U.S.

Traditional models of households don’t apply, study finds

By Sabrina Tavernise THE NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON — Married couples have dropped below half of all U.S. households for the first time, the Census Bureau says, a milestone in the evolution of the American family toward less-traditional forms.    Married couples represented only 48 percent of U.S. households in 2010, according to data being made public today and analyzed by the Brookings Institution. This was slightly less than in 2000, but far below the 78 percent of households occupied by married couples in 1950.

What is more, only a fifth of households were traditional families — married couples with children — down from about a quarter a decade ago, and from 43 percent in 1950, as the iconic image of the American family continues to break apart.

  • In recent history, the marriage rate among Americans was at its highest in the 1950s, when the institution defined gender roles, family life and a person’s place in society. But as women moved into the work force, cohabitation lost its taboo, and as society grew more secular, marriage lost some of its central authority.

“The days of Ozzie and Harriett have faded into the past,” said William Frey, the senior demographer at Brookings who analyzed the data. (The proportion of married couples slipped below half over the past decade, but was first reported as a precise count by the 2010 census).

Today, traditional patterns have been turned upside down. Women with college degrees now are more likely to marry than those with only high-school diplomas, the reverse of several decades ago, said June Carbone, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and co-author of Red Families v. Blue Families.

Rising income inequality has also divided U.S. society, making college-educated people less likely to marry those without college degrees. That educated group has struck a new path: They marry later but stay married. In contrast, women with only a high-school diploma increasingly are opting not to marry the fathers of their children.

Households are changing in other ways. Americans are living longer than ever, so households now include a growing number of elderly singles, said Andrew J. Cherlin, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University. Other factors have been the large influx of immigrants, who tend to be single people in their 20s and 30s, and the growing number of young people who live together without being married.

(Even tho this post saddens me, I wanted to share it with you.  This article tho tiny and brief, packs a very big wallop! It is evident that much is different now from when I married.   Young ladies then were influenced to want to marry and raise a family.  It’s the way things were.   I still believe that nothing is more rewarding than that pursuit providing each party  is able to flourish, develop potential and not merely function out of “duty” to a role.  That can’t happen without respect, love and mutual purpose.  Commitment was important then which greatly enabled people to get through rough times, trials and  indiscretions, etc.   Sadly, it seems in  short supply today.  This is sad as it bespeaks a flaw in character development which may reflect in the inability to love fully through the act of giving of oneself.

What do I know. . . my mother was married 6 times.  She was amazingly beautiful, a certified genius, highly creative, could do anything.  A strong woman.  They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  I guess we were dis-functional, but there was love – always.  I’m just  suggesting that the typical marriage thing wasn’t something I had seen a lot of if at all.  Yet when I married,  in my heart I knew it was a forever thing.  But that’s a whole other story [maybe for another time] and way off track. Because it wasn’t, and I divorced Marty on our 25th anniversary.  There are some things that some women simply can’t share.

Since the 70’s, I felt that people should not stay in bad marriages.  It serves no purpose and is generally unhealthy.  Where is the good if two people are making one another miserable, stressed or sad?  One or both have strayed from their original intention and promise.  See, I was happy in marriage – ignorant, but happy. 

In prior generations, one-earner families could exist.  A man could be the “bread-winner” and family could survive.  That is no longer possible for our current society.  So many things have changed.  Gone is the security of a long-term relationship, once called marriage.  Children will always get the dirty end of that stick.  All these breakdowns have not come overnight, its been in the works a long time.    They started making it easier to get divorced.  Bad for marriage – good for people to do and be who they want to be.   Women got the vote, but it took until recently for equality to come about in the marketplace.  We are still grappling with the fairness thing.   Again, bad for marriage/families, but good for those who need or want to achieve something in life. 

For any who can live by the golden rule and allow “love” to hold major sway, life is going to be good, no matter what. We all learned in school, nothing ever stays the same.  Change is a built-in factor.    Jan)

May 26, 2011

What the Bible says about abortion? Marriage?

(As an old Bible-thumper, I figured I knew my way around here well enough, but Mr. Kristof  caught me on some answers.  Go on, try your hand at it!   Jan)

What does Bible say about abortion? Marriage?


Faith is a huge force in American life, and it’s common to hear the Bible cited to bolster political and moral positions, especially against same-sex marriage and abortion. So here’s my 2011 religion quiz. Choose the best responses (some questions may have more than one correct answer):

1. The Bible’s position on abortion is: a. Never mentioned. b. To forbid it along with all forms of artificial birth control. c. Condemnatory, except to save the life of the mother.

2. The Bible suggests “marriage” is:   a. The lifelong union of one man and one woman. b. The union of one man and up to 700 wives. c. Often undesirable, because it distracts from service to the Lord.

3. The Bible says of homosexuality: a. Leviticus describes male sexual pairing as an abomination.   b. A lesbian should be stoned at her father’s doorstep.   c. There’s plenty of ambiguity and no indication of physical intimacy, but some readers point to Ruth and Naomi’s love as suspiciously close, or to King David declaring to Jonathan: “Your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (II Samuel 1:23-26)

4. In the Bible, erotic writing is:   a. Forbidden by Deuteronomy as “adultery of the heart.”  b. Exemplified by “Song of Songs,” which celebrates sex for its own sake. c. Unmentioned.

5. Jesus says that divorce is permitted:  a. Only after counseling and trial separation. b. Never.   c. Only to men whose wives have been unfaithful.

6. Among sexual behavior that is forbidden is: a. Adultery. b. Incest. c. Sex with angels.

7. The people of Sodom were condemned principally for: a. Homosexuality. b. Blasphemy. c. Lack of compassion for the poor and needy.

This quiz, and the answers below, draw from a new book, “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire.” It’s by Jennifer Wright Knust, a Bible scholar at Boston University who is also an ordained American Baptist pastor.

Knust’s point is that the Bible’s teachings about sexuality are murky and inconsistent and prone to being hijacked by ideologues (this quiz involves some cherry-picking of my own).   There’s also lots we just don’t understand:   What exactly is the offense of “arsenokoitai” or “man beds” that St. Paul proscribes? It is often translated as a reference to homosexuality, but it more plausibly relates to male prostitution or pimping. Ambiguity is everywhere, which is why some of you will surely harrumph at my quiz answers:

1. A. Abortion is never mentioned as such.

2. A, B and C. The Bible limits women to one husband, but other than that, is all over the map. Mark 10 envisions a lifelong marriage of one man and one woman. But King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (I Kings 11:3). And Matthew (Matthew 19:10-12) and St. Paul (I Corinthians 7) both seem to suggest that the ideal approach is to remain celibate and avoid marriage if possible, while focusing on serving God. Jesus (Matthew 19:12) even seems to suggest that men make themselves eunuchs, leading the early church to ban enthusiasts from self-castration.

3. A and C. As for stoning on a father’s doorstep, that is the fate not of lesbians but of non-virgin brides (Deuteronomy 22:13).

4. B. Read the “Song of Songs” and blush. It also serves as a metaphor for divine relations with Israel or with humans.

5. B and C. Jesus in Mark 10:11-12 condemns divorce generally, but in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 suggests that a man can divorce his wife if she is guilty of sexual immorality.

6. A, B and C. We forget that early commentators were very concerned about sex with angels (Genesis 6, interpreted in the Letter of Jude and other places) as an incorrect mixing of two kinds.

7. C. “Sodomy” as a term for gay male sex began to be commonly used only in the 11th century and would have surprised early religious commentators. They attributed Sodom’s problems with God to many different causes, including idolatry, threats toward strangers and general lack of compassion for the downtrodden. Ezekiel 16:49 suggests that Sodomites “had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”

Hmm. “Did not aid the poor and needy.” Who knew that that’s what the Bible condemns as sodomy? At a time of budget cuts that devastate the poor, isn’t that precisely the kind of disgusting immorality that we should all join together in the spirit of the Bible to repudiate?

Nicholas D. Kristof writes for The New York Times.

Red Meat cited as Cancer Risk


Red meat cited as cancer risk

Fiber can reduce threat, study says

By Jennifer LaRue Huget                                                                                                                                                                                                                 SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON POST

A report released yesterday by an international team of researchers said there is convincing evidence that eating too much red meat and processed meat raises colorectal cancer risk.    The report found that consuming plenty of fiber in the form of plant-based foods reduces that risk.

The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research together produce the Continuous Update Project, which gathers research about various forms of cancer, updating its database every few years.    For this report, scientists at Imperial College London conducted a review of published studies and ended up adding 263 new papers about colorectal cancer to the 749 that had been analyzed for the last report, issued in 2007.    The report notes that there is “convincing evidence” that:

  • Red meat, processed meat, excess body fat and fat carried around the waist increase risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Regular physical activity reduces risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Foods containing dietary fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, reduce risk of colorectal cancer. Garlic probably does, too (although the evidence for this isn’t as strong).

Red meat refers to beef, pork and lamb. If a person eats 3.5 ounces of red meat every day, the risk of colorectal cancer will be 17 percent higher than for someone who eats no red meat.

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