Friday, December 05, 2003

Darren Callahan's website, cited in the Reader 09/26/03, featuring his self published book.

Monday, December 01, 2003

info to keep track of

ephedra vs. canadian imports

Like just about everyone over at OSP I consider myself a liberal. I haven't taken a formal poll or anything but I might be one of the few who will say that as much as I dislike most conservative idealogy I think it is a very important perspective and idea source, one that at the very least be used to temper and solidify liberal ideas.

I've always had respect for those who

Because of dangers and abuse potential, in 1983 the FDA (Food and Drug
Administration) banned all over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that included both synthetic ephedrine and caffeine, the combination used most in dietary supplements containing ephedra alkaloids, and the agency is now finalizing the ban on OTC drugs that contain ephedrine alone. At a recent U.S. Senate Hearing on ephedra alkaloids, acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford conceded that if these products were drugs, not dietary supplements, they would be off the market. But he also stated that unreasonable risk of harm at the recommended doses, is sufficient for withdrawal under the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which allows marketing of naturally occurring products without requirements for safety or efficacy studies and is the legal standard for FDA withdrawal[2].

In a review of 140 cases of adverse reactions to ephedra reported to the FDA by early 1999, hypertension was the most frequently named, followed by palpitations, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), stroke, and seizures. The adverse effects included 10 deaths, and 13 instances of permanent disability[3]. Even one standard "serving" of a typical ephedra alkaloid-containing dietary supplement can be dangerous: The average increase in systolic blood pressure was 14 mmHg, 90 minutes after subjects took two capsules with a total of 20 mg of ephedra and 200 mg of caffeine. Three of the eight people studied had evidence of "mild clinical hypertension"[4].

Despite convincing evidence of heart attacks, arrhythmias, strokes, and more than 100 reports to the FDA of death[5], these products are still marketed in the United States. Notwithstanding FDA's reluctance to take action, Army and Air Force commissaries and post exchanges recently voluntarily removed all ephedra-containing dietary supplements from their shelves[6]. The FDA has received documentation of about 30 deaths in active duty personnel who were using these supplements, although no direct cause-and-effect relation has been established[7]. The National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association had previously banned ephedra[8]. In June 2001, the Canadian government warned Canadians not to use these products, and in January 2002, it announced a recall of "ephedra/ephedrine products with labelled or implied claims for appetite suppression, weight loss promotion, metabolic enhancement, increased exercise tolerance, body-building effects, euphoria, increased energy or wakefulness, or other stimulant effects"[9].

pro ephedra site

Metabolife -

More Than 30 Army Deaths Attributed To Ephedra (
12/06/02 - The U.S. Army has reported that more than 30 active duty service personnel have died while taking ephedra products thus prompting a recent military warning saying "Ephedra may cause severe medical problems, even death".

To justify limiting ephedra's sales, the magazine cited the FDA's recent study of adverse events associated with ephedra products that concluded 87 that were "definitely," "probably," or "possibly" caused by ephedra. Of these, there were 17 cases of strokes and seizures, 13 cases of permanent impairment and 10 deaths.

Countering the magazine's claim, Hathcock says a stimulant, like ephedra, might have led to these bad reactions, but added that something else might also have been responsible.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Ephedra, an herb found in weight-loss and bodybuilding supplements, is unsafe even when taken in recommended doses and should be restricted, according to doctors who studied reports of bad reactions to the herb.

U.S. poison control centers reported 1,178 adverse reactions to ephedra dietary supplements in 2001, said the study, which was to be posted on the Annals of Internal Medicine's Web site Tuesday and published in the journal next month.

Cbs story


General Clark in 2004

Well I might as well tell you what I had hoped my first post to be on;
Ummm...Moe, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. Taxes redistrubute wealth. The wealth had to be there (created by individuals) in the first place in order for tax rates to yield nonzero taxes.

It's amazing that if you repeat a lie over and over again people really do begin to believe it, even regurgitate it when it's appropriate. Like parrots, lemmings or ditto heads, whatever you care to call it.

Everytime there is a tax cut the left begins it's usual arguments of what's wrong with the rich getting the lion's share of the tax cut, rebate, etc. Every reason is brought up - its unfair because the rich have more, or giving money to the poor means they are more likely to spend it when there is a tax cut to spur the economy. The right usually launches into a diatribe drawing from their own battery of justifications for the tax cut, the tax code is unfair, it's class warfare, the rich pay more and therefore should get more back.

Despite the fact that I agree with most of the arguments made by the left in regards to tax cuts skewed towards the rich, I find myself annoyed. This endless cycle of typical liberal arguments have gotten aggravating. Most of them are devoid of a genuine and concrete justification as to not just why should pay more in taxes but because it is their responsibility. The biggest reason why the rich should pay more is constantly missed. Next time a conservative starts blathering this silly debate I want you do this;

Ask that the person you're debating pull a dollar out of your pocket and take a look at it. Ask them "What do you see?"

You'll get a lot of answers - power, consumer, stability, a way to purchase a beer. Most people miss the most obvious answer of all.

Most people project their own wants and need onto the most recognizable form of currency in the world, the greenback. However most people miss the most obvious answer of all. A keen observer with their eyes wide open will see what the dollar truly is - its really just a piece of paper. And yet most people never consider just where that dollar gets it's value from. The only reason that greenback is worth the number that's printed on the four corners of that bill is because of every libertarian and conservative's most hated institution it is - are you ready for this? - The Government. That awful money hungry, capital taxing, innovative stifling behemoth bueracracy is the very thing that gives the one thing that capitalists pray to every night before they go to bed. People who have more money in this country should not pay more just because they have more, it is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY.

How is it that Warren Buffet the richest person in the world is editorializing about the fact that he pays less percentage wise in taxes than his secretary. With all the write offs, deductions and what not anyone with money can figure out a way to absolve themselves from what amounts to their responsibility to pay into the very system that allows them to obtain, maintain their wealth and protects it in a court of law.

We're cutting social programs and what not or running up a huge deficit to pay for this war and for economic stimulus. What didn't we cut?

Defense - the Armed forces protect our lives and our rights but they also protect our form of government and therefore all that it does including protect property (thru the courts) and even more so the very value of the dollar.

We didn't cut the budget for The Fed, the Mint, the FCC and every institution that protects private property and our monetary policy and our financial institutions. We still spend money on utilities that allow goods and services that go from one place to another. We haven't cut spending on the court systems that

The Rich should pay more because they have far more to lose if the government and the dollar were to fail.

I'm not saying that middle class shouldn't pay taxes, and as for poor, while they want to be protected from terrorism same as everybody else they have the very least to lose from our government taking a serious blow, much less the unthinkable, the US gov. collapsing.

One could say that when as a nation are truly threatened (not trumped up WMD charges) we have a draft so they everyone contributes their own life, or at least the 18-22 year old men, on a mandatory basis. It includes others who don't fit ito that category exactly who volunteer, etc. That is the great equalizer, an environment in which you could say all are contributing. Otherwise our courts, financial institutions, and what not during peace time benefit the rich and really anyone who has money, or owns property, etc. Need I lecture about all the write offs the tax code allows, but it seems only the rich are able to take advantage of.

(We don't demand children who are abandoned by their parents to pay their own taxes.... And yet they receive protection from our mighty and costly military... a tangent for a later time)

The most difficult part of the argument to make is the fact that our military has been used for more the purpose of ensurng investments for the rich in this country - but really that is a specific segment, being the Oil industry. I heard that Harpers had a stat that we spend 50 billion a year in military expendtures protecting the oil fields of our Saudi "allies" and heres the kicker the value of theat oil is $20 billion. Cheap my ass.

This argument is difficult because it's not principle, but in practice and while I know in my heart its true this is not what I was hoping to focus on in the post. I just wanted to remind people all the institutions the US Gov. funds thru tax dollars, many of which that the ordinary citizen sees absolutely no direct benefit, other that while we all benefit those who have more should contribute more because of what those institutions provide to those who have verus those who don't (The Fed, The Mint, among many others). Our tax dollars support the very institution of the dollar, our currency. If you value the dollar in your pocket or your bank account then it's your responsibility to uphold the very value of the dollar. The poor, while they benefit fromthe existance of the dollar, certainly don't see the same perks as someone who has thousands in a bank, and that person doesn't have as much to lose as a Bill Gates. You catch my drift, right?

Our courts protect all our assets, in theory anyway. You may not have to go to court to defend yourself, but you should be paying into the Fed government to fund the courts. Our judges and curthouses are almost like an insurance policy we all have to pay to uphold the fact that you car, your house, your material possessions, stay yours and are enforced by law.

To go one step further think about the airline industry that got that bailout post 9.11, and yet all those small business that suffered from the 9.11 located in lower Manhattan got nothing. I'm curious as hell to see how many write off all those airlines got while a convience store or a car repair shop paid, never got those special write offs and got no bail out. It's still rough around the edges, but it could be something.

And it may not make it into the article but whether people realize it or not, the dollar itself is a form of regulation, the most dreaded word in the GOP lexicon. The dollar lost value after the enron failed, because investors world wide lost confidence in the dollar and the American system - a lack of regulation helped the dollar lose value.