The Watering Hole, Monday, October 1st, 2012: Pander Much, Mitt?

Romney’s Misleading Mailer (H/T Think Progress)

A thread posted at ThinkProgress on Saturday discussed how a man named Michael Farris, a “highly influential social conservative in Virginia” apparently impressed the Romney/Ryan campaign enough for them to send out the above mailer to potential Virginia voters. Mr. Farris “believes that people can contract “chronic Lyme disease” that must be treated with long-term antibiotics. The Center[sic] for Disease Control says there is no such thing as “chronic Lyme disease” and “long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been associated with serious complications.” Farris claims that his wife and seven of his children all suffer from “chronic Lyme disease”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Mr. Farris’s opinion – and the comments following TP’s article are quite mixed** – one has to question both the purpose and the content of the Romney/Ryan mailer.

Why would anyone running for the office of the Presidency take one person’s unconfirmed story and run a campaign mailer on it? A March 2012 article from realloudoun.com provides some insight, as does roanoke.com. A few excerpts from roanoke.com articles:

“I believe that anybody who’s dogmatic about any side of the kind of controversies around Lyme is speaking prematurely,” said Farris, the chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County. “We’re in the early scientific stages of a very important disease that’s affected a lot of people, and I think we need more science.”

and,

“Appointed to lead Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Lyme Disease Task Force, Farris is challenging the state’s medical establishment to take a hard look at the way it diagnoses and treats acute Lyme and its chronic, long-term counterpart — a condition that most infectious disease experts refute outright.
Long a champion of creationism — to the point that several Patrick Henry professors left the college in 2007, claiming his views limited their academic freedoms — Farris is now traveling the state with his task force, seeking input and stirring up doctors.”

Here’s a couple of links to the Task Force’s “final report”.
(Note: A member of the panel as listed in the second link appears to have been misidentified as Michael Cameron MD of Mount Kisco, NY (a few towns south of us.) A google search found a Daniel Cameron, MD, listed as a Lyme Disease expert, with a website called lymeproject.com, which mentions an article published by Dr. Cameron called “Proof That Chronic Lyme Disease Exists.”

Okay, so Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell allowed his old pal Michael Farris, who has no background whatsoever in medicine, to appoint himself as head this “Task Force”.

Now let’s look at what the mailer actually says (of course, you have to enlarge the photo to read the damn thing):

ROMNEY AND RYAN WILL DO MORE TO FIGHT THE SPREAD OF LYME DISEASE – how? See below.

“It’s a serious problem that demands immediate attention.” – Um, Lyme Disease has been given “immediate attention” since the first case was diagnosed a few DECADES AGO.

“As President, Mitt Romney will ensure that real action is taken to get control of this epidemic that is wreaking havoc on Northern Virginia.”


IMPROVE SYNERGY Ensure that government agencies have an open line of communication and work with patients, researchers, doctors and businesses in an objective, comprehensive manner.
– Buzzwords, totally meaningless.
INCREASE AWARENESS Work with federal and state health agencies to support Lyme Disease awareness efforts to help prevent further spread of the disease. Seriously, Federal Health agencies have been supporting awareness efforts since the 1980s. Virginia seems to be lagging quite a bit behind; but then again, Virginia Republicans think that it’s a conspiracy promulgated by the CDC.

(And here’s the real kicker): SUPPORT TREATMENT Encourage increased options for the treatment of Lyme Disease and provide local physicians with protection from lawsuits to ensure they can treat the disease with the aggressive antibiotics that are required.

This is the part that Michael Farris really, really wants. Apparently the doctor who had been treating Farris’s family with long-term antibiotics, Dr. Joseph Jemsek, lost his North Carolina medical license and is now practicing in Washington, DC. Obviously, Mr. Farris couldn’t find a doctor in Virginia who would agree to treat Farris’s family with the non-standard, possibly dangerous treatment that Farris wanted.

The upshot is that Mitt Romney is more than willing to take the word of one nutjob, simply because that nutjob happens to be an influential conservative Republican and friend of Governor McDonnell. This appears to put Romney just one step above Batshit Crazy Michele Bachmann when it comes to believing a single person about a complicated medical issue. Republicans and science simply don’t mix.

This is our daily open thread — have at it!!

**Something weird happened to the thread at ThinkProgress: as of Sunday morning, there were over 100 comments; suddenly, after refreshing the page, all comments were completely gone. I don’t know what Judd did, but people were really pissed off.

DHS Is Declaring Public Health Emergency For Swine Flu

CNN

The United States stepped up preparations for a possible swine flu epidemic, and Canada confirmed its first cases on Sunday as researchers worked to determine how contagious the virus could be.

In Washington, the head of the Centers for Disease Control said 20 cases had been confirmed in five U.S. states by noon Sunday. The largest number of cases was in New York, where the CDC confirmed cases in eight students at a preparatory school in that city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday.

Another seven cases have been confirmed in California, two each in Kansas and Texas and one in Ohio, said Dr. Richard Besser, the CDC’s acting director. Only one person has had to be hospitalized, but Besser said authorities are likely to see “a broader spectrum of disease” in the days ahead.

Rocket Fuel Chemical In Baby Formula

The chemical perchlorate, which is used in solid rocket and jet fuels, was recently detected in 15 powdered baby formulas, according to ABC News. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the chemical in 15 tested brands of powdered infant formula. The agency says the total is below the reference dose , which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set as the level of concern.

It’s not a new issue, as the stuff has been in our water supply for a while. But when the headlines scream ‘Rocket fuel in Baby Formula,’ a story that’s been percolating for years takes on new life, in concert with the new lives drinking in nourishment that is admittedly toxic and potentially dangerous.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), perchlorate levels found in the products fall within acceptable parameters.

However the CDC says not so fast. When one considers that perchlorate is also found in the water supplies of 35 states, what happens when a parent mixes milk-based powdered baby formula containing acceptable levels of perchlorate, with water that also contains perchlorate?

The concern is that the combination could prove dangerous, especially for infants.

Government to Bail Out Tainted Tomato Industry?

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-FL) plans to introduce legislation to give tomato growers and shippers $100 million in compensation for their losses due to the recent salmonella outbreak.

The WSJ states that the FDA has listed its ban on the tainted vegetable, while the CDC says that there still may be more cases not yet reported which resulted from tomatoes. More than 1200 people were sickened in this latest produce disaster.

Congress has scheduled several hearings next week concerning the salmonella outbreak and why thee was such a lengthy delay in determining the cause.

The sought-after amount is based on an estimate from Florida growers and includes crops abandoned in the field, products thrown out by retailers and tomatoes forced to be sold as low as $5 a box, compared with as much as $20 in a normal market, said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, a cooperative of tomato farmers. The Agriculture Department hasn’t released a firm estimate of the cost to farmers or distributors.

Call me crazy, but shouldn’t we try to figure out exactly what happened first, before we opt to shovel $100 million dollars to any industry? Especially one which may be at fault?

Consumer advocates oppose the bill. Sarah Klein, a staff attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the food-industry lobby over the years has weakened federal food-safety oversight, and consumers shouldn’t foot the bill now. “We’d like to see the industry focusing on how to prevent these outbreaks for the future to protect consumers and their bottom line,” she said.

Gee, you don’t say?

Oh, and watch those Jalepeno peppers. They’re still hot. The FDA and CDC found a single pepper tainted with the Saintpaul strain of salmonella in Texas.
Continue reading

CDC Suppressed Toxic Trailer Warnings

via: CBS News

Agency Suppressed Repeated Warnings From Top Scientist About Formaldehyde Fume DangersAs CBS News first reported last spring, FEMA has been under heavy fire for failing to acknowledge then adequately address health problems like respiratory illness associated with the toxic chemical formaldehyde found in travel trailers that became home for hundreds of thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina. More than 143,000 families have lived in the toxic trailers, and more than 40,000 still do. (My emphasis added)

Now, CBS News has learned, the public health fiasco reaches beyond FEMA – into the one of the nation’s most respected agencies. CBS News has learned that the Centers for Disease Control, the nation’s top public health agency, suppressed repeated warnings from one of its top scientists, raising questions about whether the CDC bowed to pressure from FEMA to conceal the long-term health risks of formaldehyde in the trailers it distributed to hurricane victims – health risks like cancer and birth defects, CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.

A string of internal documents obtained exclusively by CBS News reveal that Dr. Christopher De Rosa, director of the CDC’s Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine, told his superiors “there is no safe level of exposure” to formaldehyde in trailers. That warning never made its way into any public report about the trailers. Read on..

The victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been victimized once again – this time by our own government, and likely with long-term, lasting effects. As Mike Molloy said on the radio last night (paraphrased from what I remember..) “The only thing these people did wrong was to be born, and live during the Bush Presidency”. Even Cuba takes care of its citizens in the event of a disaster..

So now the CDC is being politicized as well..