Another backlash begins

Read from beginning to end. The backlash in America has not been nearly so strong as in the UK, which is a pity.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

Recently I was the author, and co-signee, of a letter sent to NICE (the National Institute for Care and Health Excellence) asking that their recommendations on primary prevention of cardiovascular disease should be withdrawn. Mainly the advice on the use of statins for those at low risk of a heart attack, or stroke. Those in the UK may have seen a bit a stir in the media.

Others who signed this letter included: Sir Richard Thompson, Chairman of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr. Clare Gerada, past president of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Dr. Kailash Chand – deputy chairman of the British Medical Association. [I have included this letter for you to read, if you wish]

So, we are not talking about a bunch of mavericks here – apart from me, of course. When people who are as much a part of the ‘establishment’ as this are…

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Hey Arizonans! Clothesline bans are illegal!

MEN-JJ09-clothesline1(image copied from Mother Earth News)

Clothesline bans illegal in 19 states

I live in a state with many, many, MANY Home Owner’s Associations (HOA’s).  There have been fights brought to court because the boards of many HOA’s consider solar panels to be ‘unsightly’ and banned.  This, even though we live in a state with something like 320 days of sunlight a year.  This, even though Arizona law trumps HOA rules.  In all of these cases that went to court, the right of the homeowner to have solar panels was upheld, because Arizona law gives the right to the use of solar to the homeowner without interference.  Yay Arizona courts!  And yet, in many, if not most, of these same communities, use of a clothesline is banned by the same ‘unsightly’ rule.

Well guess what???  Those rules are illegal and unenforceable too, under the same laws that give the right to the use of solar panels.  ARS Article 3 Chapter 4 Section 33-349

specifically states that:

A.  Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security agreement or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property which effectively prohibits the installation and use of a solar energy device as defined in Section 44-1761 is void and unenforceable.

I looked for section 44-1761 and unfortunately was unable to find it.  you are welcome to look HERE if you are interested.  Now in the interest of disclosure, if you bought your property before 1980 this isn’t applicable to you, and any HOA regulations dating from before 1980 ARE in fact enforceable.

ETA:  found it.  Google is my friend.

44-1761. Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. “Collector” means a component of a solar energy device that is used to absorb solar radiation, convert it to heat or electricity and transfer the heat to a heat transfer fluid or to storage.

2. “Heat exchanger” means a component of a solar energy device that is used to transfer heat from one fluid to another.

3. “Solar daylighting” means a device specifically designed to capture and redirect the visible portion of the solar beam spectrum, while controlling the infrared portion, for use in illuminating interior building spaces in lieu of artificial lighting.

4. “Solar energy device” means a system or series of mechanisms designed primarily to provide heating, to provide cooling, to produce electrical power, to produce mechanical power, to provide solar daylighting or to provide any combination of the foregoing by means of collecting and transferring solar generated energy into such uses either by active or passive means. Such systems may also have the capability of storing such energy for future utilization. Passive systems shall clearly be designed as a solar energy device such as a trombe wall and not merely a part of a normal structure such as a window.

5. “Storage unit” means a component of a solar energy device that is used to store solar generated electricity or heat for later use.

Clotheslines are specifically a device to produce mechanical power — they cause water to evaporate from clothes via solar energy.  So.  For the great majority of us, clotheslines ahoy! Full sheets sail ahead!



The FDA wants to regulate medical apps now too

epocOnlinePhoto ganked from the Epocrates website.

So now, in addition to the Feds wanting to regulate your Google Maps app, they want to regulate medical apps.  You know, the ones your doctor/PA/NP uses to ensure that they are prescribing the proper dosage for you of a given medication.  You know, the ones that often have dosing calculators built in so that there’s no possibility of error on the part of a rushed, harried provider in giving your child a medication.  Of course, they are not regulating the BOOKS that give the same information though can’t help with dosing calculators.

So let me get this straight:  Epocrates is a medical device, not an application, and must be regulated by the Feds.  The same feds who still haven’t approved artificial discs for spinal surgery though it’s been available in Europe since 2005.  The same Feds who approved Pradaxa which now has over 2000 medical harm lawsuits against it and did not disclose larger adverse effects than originally reported in the study which got it FDA approval.  The same FDA that had 63 recalls of medical devices alone in 2013 and another 30 medical device recalls so far this year.  And Epocrates is very reasonably priced as the basic version; I may eventually upgrade to the full version but currently it does the job just fine for my needs.  If the FDA gets involved, I doubt I will buy it at all due to the cost which I know will go up by at least double, and have fewer updates because the Feds will have to approve the upgrades before they can be released.

Yes, I’m SURE regulation of apps which have a market share because they WORK, and are easy to use, and receive frequent updates to ensure they have the LATEST prescribing information will go well if the Feds get involved.  I’m SURE they will continue to be the user friendly, up to date, accurate applications they currently are because, as we all know from previous experience, having the Feds get involved in anything medical means it works better.  Just look at the recalls if you don’t believe me.

It gets better though.  Ever heard of Fitbit?  It’s a nice little app, kind of expensive in my opinion, but it lets you track your weight, tracks calories burned, calories of the foods you input that you’ve eaten, and is supposed to help you keep to your fitness goals.  The FDA has already stated they are monitoring apps like this and would like to regulate them as well.  So that $129 it now costs will go up to $250 or more if they get involved.  Yay, regulation.  Because we’re all idiots and can’t take care of ourselves, we need the government to do it for us.

So what?  You say.  I don’t care, I don’t use those.  Well, any time the FDA gets involved it means the cost is going to go up.  Drastically.  Which means that, eventually, that cost is going to be passed on to the patient.  Because the consumer, the provider, already has a pretty thin profit margin.  And by profit, I mean what they get to live on after paying student loans, business expenses, malpractice insurance, DEA license fees, medical license maintenance fees, etc.  There’s not much left over after all that stuff is paid for.  The average family practice doctor who owns his own business makes about $140,000 per year.  And out of that must come all of those expenses.  An engineer makes about $125,000 and has lower malpractice, and most of those other fees are covered by his company.

Books are great.  I own a few books designed for prescribers.  Except that I have to buy new ones every year or two if I want the most current information — or be able to put sticky notes into my books everywhere every time the information changes.  The apps have the clear advantage of updating with the newest prescribing information on a regular basis.  I will admit in a collapse scenario however, books have the clear advantage.  They don’t depend on electricity and a functioning internet grid for their information. This is why I have backups, but I do love the ease and speed of the medical apps!



The Great God Pan is Dead….or not.

Over the past several days I have been confronted with multiple references to Pan.  Yesterday I was confronted with direct references to him three times in less than 18 hours!  I took this as a sign that I should make a post on the subject.

According to Greek mythology, he is the son of Hermes the Messenger who is one of the ruling Gods of medicine.  I say this via his function of conducting the living into the realm of the dead; his staff with two snakes coiled around it is the caduceus of modern medicine.  Regardless of his later notation of parentage, Pan is most likely one of the earliest Gods of human civilization.  He rules over the mountainsides, pastures, sheep and goats.  As a God of the wilds, it can be expected that he embodies revelry, fruitfulness, open sexuality, health, and fun.  In Roman times he was identified with Dionysus, God of wine and revelry.

Pan, like all ancient Gods, has a darker side.  In his kinder mode he plays reed pipes known as syrinx, or panpipes.  In his darker aspect he embodies Panic and Pandemonium and plays, not pipes, but a conch.  These are two sides of the same coin; revelry can degrade into debauchery, madness, and chaos.  The mountainside in spring is beautiful and holds the promise of the summer’s fruit.  Winter storms hold death.  Sexuality holds both the promise of birth and the certainty of death.

Pan represents the eternal lust for life, and serendipity of fate.  Which nymph will mate with him this time?  Who will chance his anger by waking him from his nap?  It seems fitting that a spinner should post about the ovine, caprine limbed God of goats and sheep.

Lord Byron wrote an ode to Pan, titled Aristomenes.  Ostensibly, it was about the hero of the Spartan war; in reality it seems to be about the loss of innocence and love of simple pleasures that the death of Pan entailed.  He wrote it in 1823, but it was not published until 1903, I would guess because of the infamous nature of the author.  He and his works, like Oscar Wilde and his, were not particularly appreciated until many years after his death.

I present to you Lord Byron’s lament for Pan:

The Gods of old are silent on their shore

Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar

Of the Ionian waters broke a dread

Voice which proclaimed “the mighty Pan is dead,”

How much died with him! false or true–the dream

Was beautiful which peopled every stream

With more than finny tenants, and adorned

The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned

Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace

Of gods brought forth the high heroic race

Whose names are on the hills and o’er the seas.

I too mourn the loss of the certainty of spirits in the waters and the woods.  I too share Oscar Wilde’s plea for Pan to return and his assertion that He is desperately needed in these times:


O goat-foot God of Arcady!
This modern world is grey and old,
And what remains to us of thee?

No more the shepherd lads in glee
Throw apples at thy wattled fold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Nor through the laurels can one see
Thy soft brown limbs, thy beard of gold,
And what remains to us of thee?

And dull and dead our Thames would be,
For here the winds are chill and cold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Then keep the tomb of Helice,
Thine olive-woods, thy vine-clad wold,
And what remains to us of thee?

Though many an unsung elegy
Sleeps in the reeds our rivers hold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!
Ah, what remains to us of thee?


Ah, leave the hills of Arcady,
Thy satyrs and their wanton play,
This modern world hath need of thee.

No nymph or Faun indeed have we,
For Faun and nymph are old and grey,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!

This is the land where liberty
Lit grave-browed Milton on his way,
This modern world hath need of thee!

A land of ancient chivalry
Where gentle Sidney saw the day,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!

This fierce sea-lion of the sea,
This England lacks some stronger lay,
This modern world hath need of thee!

Then blow some trumpet loud and free,
And give thine oaten pipe away,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!
This modern world hath need of thee!

Oh, for the loss of innocence of simpler times.  Oh, for the loss of connection to the land, its spirits and its stories.  Yes, Great God Pan, this modern world hath need of thee!

*”Pan” copied from Victorian Web dot Org, other material from my own personal library.


Back off the hummus classification, Sabra…

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Sabra *IS* technically right. I speak a little Arabic (less now than when I regularly hung around with people from the ME and before I started school). Hummus *is* the Arabic word for chickpeas, as well as the paste made from chickpeas and other ingredients. Other types of beans have other words to describe them and their products.

That being said, this is a marketing driven decision and may well come back to bite Sabra in the @$$. Just sayin’.

That’s it. I’m making my own cheese. Screw the Feds.

Courtesy Cheese Uncerground

Courtesy Cheese Underground

Cheese Underground aka Jeanne Carpenter has written about the FDA’s ruling on aging cheese.  Apparently, though wood is antibacterial in nature, and cheeses have been aged on wood for literally thousands of years, cheese makers in the US are no longer allowed to age cheese on wooden boards.  Dr. Cliver’s study backs up what I say about wood being antibacterial – more so than plastic.  Wood contains chemicals that prevent bacterial growth and in some cases are actively bactericidal.  That’s why Pine-Sol is a cleaner – the pine chemicals kill bacteria.

Though I notice that cheeses aged on wooden boards that are made in other countries are still allowed to be imported — I check my supermarket’s selection of cheeses regularly for new and interesting varieties.  The FDA’s ostensible reasoning for this ruling is listeria, among other things — CDC advice to customers is an article regarding cheese recalled due to listeria and what customers should do with the cheese.   I would like to point out that Roos Foods supplies Mexican type soft cheese all over the nation.  There were a grand total of 8 people sickened by listeria, 1 of whom died.  I was unable to find the age of the person who died, but I believe it was a miscarriage and the mother survived, at least that’s my impression based on comments about this on other blogs.  I am saddened that someone died, and I feel bad for the people that got sick, but there are some things about this that bear a closer look.

1.  Roos Foods supplies Mexican cheese all over the nation under a variety of brands.  I myself purchased one of their brands of Mexican cheese on more than one occasion during the time when the cheeses were supposedly under recall and no one got sick from eating it.  No one in Arizona was sickened at all.

2.  EIGHT people were sickened.  Out of millions that bought the cheese.  How unsanitary were these facilities??  While one should use the highest standards in producing food, I really have a hard time understanding how dirty their facilities could be if only 8 out of millions were sickened.

3.  Why is a company on the East Coast producing cheese that is shipped nationwide?  How common sense is that?  Why is milk being shipped by the ton to their facility for them to make cheese and send it back to the areas the milk came from?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a cheese making facility near the dairies and sell the cheese locally?  Less transit time, less changing of hands, less opportunity for bad bacteria to grow…what’s not to like about this?

4.  Soft cheeses are more vulnerable to bad bacterial contamination due to their nature.  Which is exactly why they should be produced as close as possible to the dairies supplying the milk.

I really think the FDA is over reaching themselves.  They approve medications with no studies other than the ones provided by the drug companies standing to profit by the medications, don’t bother to check actual hard data regarding the statistics provided, and then have to recall 30% of what they approve within a few years or less because of their lackadaisical approval process.  Yet they are worried about hard cheeses aged on wood??  Wouldn’t state agricultural and food agencies have a better handle on what’s going on in their own states, and be better able to monitor safety?

The director of the FDA food safety division is a former Monsanto executive.  Gee, I wonder what varieties of cheese Monsanto has a hand in that will benefit from this ruling?

All this is going to do is create an underground cheese industry exactly like the raw milk trade.  When it comes to food, people will go to almost any length to get what they perceive is better quality, and artisan cheese certainly falls into that category.  If the feds want to create yet another underground illegal food trade, this is certainly what they will get from this decision.  And with that comes the possibility of increased food borne illness.  I am reminded of the saying “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”  There will *never* be perfect food safety.  Especially not with huge food processing facilities.  Rules designed for massive facilities are impractical and counterproductive to impose on small artisan facilities who have a niche market and a huge investment in customer satisfaction — they KNOW bad processing will kill their business, and they’re MUCH more able to monitor procedures than any large scale plant.

I am going to buy a little fridge and start making my own cheeses.  I haven’t made cheddar for the simple reason that it needs to be at 52 degrees for an extended period of time, and I wasn’t willing to buy a refrigerator just for cheese.  I am rethinking that decision, along with how to make a root cellar in order to store cheeses and vegetables.

I think this ruling will kill the artisan cheese industry in the US.


Humanitarian crisis? How about child abuse on an international scale?

The above link is to the definitions section of 8 CFR, which has to do with immigration law (in part).

Sidenote:  apparently WordPress does not allow you to name your own links any more.  You get to link the webpage.  Period.  Sucky ‘upgrade’ WordPress.  ETA:  apparently you have to now title the link BEFORE you paste the link.  Still a sucky “upgrade”, WordPress.  There was nothing wrong with how it worked before.

Apparently they are merely “arriving aliens” now.  Seriously?  They are STILL illegally here, and they are STILL aliens.  Therefore, they are STILL illegal aliens. However our BS government wants to rename them.

Jan Brewer took a lot of flak for SB 1070.  Interestingly which was last updated May 11, 2014, states that the major provisions of the law were upheld by the US Supreme Court.  Which I knew would be;  I also commented on the revised version of the law which changed the part I thought would be the problem part:

Apparently, though, it was necessary for the feds to punish Arizona, to rub the governor’s nose in her brashness in signing it into law, to punish its citizens by pushing our foster care, medical, and social services sectors to the breaking point:  Feds Dump Illegal Aliens in Arizona, along with other states as far away as Connecticut!  How has Connecticut offended Mr. Holder and the ICE officials?

Paul Gosar is doing his job as our representative and has sent a letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (poorly named in my opinion, our government is beyond reform and now classes as failed) demands answers, accuses the feds of human trafficking.  He certainly has a point.  How else would one describe the transportation of illegal “arriving” aliens to other parts of the country and unceremoniously dumping them off in a public area?  At the very least it is child abuse on the part of those parents, not to mention EVERY SINGLE BORDER PATROL AND ICE AGENT INVOLVED.

Russell Pearce, while being a racist ass, still did a commendable job in creating SB 1070.  There was a real crisis in our state due to the numbers of illegal aliens milking the welfare, medical, and employment sectors of our economy.  Yes, they have taxes taken out of checks based on phantom social security numbers and forged documents – but those taxes are in the main federal and we never see them.  The pittance that gets taken out for Arizona taxes does not nearly make up for the amount of money those same illegal aliens consume in the form of school district needs, police needs, medical staffing needs, social service needs.  Not to mention the fact that a tax paying citizen might be collecting unemployment because an illegal alien is willing to work for much less and won’t complain about labor law violations.  Or the fact that many illegal aliens work for cash under the table, and aren’t paying taxes on their income at all.  Russell Pearce quotes the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s statement on the impact of SB 1070 in reducing crime.  In addition, in one of his blog postings he totals the yearly cost of illegal aliens to Arizona alone.  $2.6 BILLION DOLLARS.  That, my friends, is quite a chunk of change.  He also tallys, in another blog post, the reduction in crime rates in Arizona.

Phoenix has a 30 year low in crime, they credit SB1070
Mesa, also has a huge reduction in crime
Arizona’s crime rate is 3X’s lower than the national average
Arizona’s prison population is declining for the first time in many years

Arizona’s K-12 population has dropped 7% meaning hundreds of million in less tax dollar
Arizona was 49th in the nation during this deep recession, now in the top 6 in Economic recovery and job growth
Arizona is ranked one of the top states in the protection of the unborn
Arizona is #1 in school choice, giving parents the tools to choose what is best for their children
Arizona is #1 in 2nd Amendment Freedom
The elimination of Affirmitive Action in Arizona

“We, as elected officials, must have the courage and the fortitude to enforce, with compassion but without apology, those laws that protect the integrity of our borders and our rights of our lawful citizens.” Senator Russell Pearce”

OK, there are some things on that list I am less than supportive of, but lowered crime, lower prison population, lowered unemployment of legal citizens, and lower outlays for social/welfare services is a good thing.

Yet Obama is using our tax dollars at the federal level to hire lawyers to defend illegal immigrant youths against our own government policies regarding immigration.  What the hell????  How amazingly schizophrenic can our government become in its policies??  See — failed governement.  FAILED NATION.  We have achieved that status when laws are completely ignored by those in charge of enforcing them because they have a vested interest in NON enforcement.

When are the states going to band together and refuse to send the feds their cut of the tax revenue from the states until the feds start enforcing their own laws?  I would think the states could better use that money to defend their economies and citizens from the negative impacts of the federal policies.  How long does the federal government think it will last if they aren’t getting a good revenue stream from the states…?