Singulair linked to suicide, depression

Since last October, Singulair allergy and asthma medication labels have warned that the drug is linked to, “suicidal thinking and behaviour.” The Wall Street Journal reports:

Singulair, made by Merck & Co., is approved to treat asthma and allergy symptoms such as sneezing and stuffy noses, as well as to prevent exercise-induced asthma. The FDA said in a so-called early communication that it is reviewing postmarketing reports of behavior and mood changes, suicidal thoughts and actions, and actual suicides by patients who took Singulair. The regulator also asked Merck to look at its own database for signs of trouble. read more

Fly-fishing for breast cancer survivors

Casting for Recovery is physical therapy for women after breast removal surgery. Fly-fishing requires the same range of motions traditional therapy offers to strengthen and develop muscles in the upper arm and body. CFR operates in the United States, Great Britain and Canada.

More info at Casting for Recovery.

Montel: “I want to talk about” Iraqi troops

Fox effectively fired Montel Williams after he stated during a televised interview that we ought to be at least as concerned about the 28 boys of ours who have died in Iraq since January, as we are about Heath’s death. He also shared the idea that the media community shouldn’t be discussing Ledger as an object in order to drive up ratings. This “young man . . . has not even been buried yet,” Williams admonished. He was, “somebody’s child, somebody’s father.” read more

How the Rabbi beat City Hall

Fair Lawn, Dec. 9 – An 8-foot-tall menorah has been placed in a yard across from Borough Hall, but even after all its electric candles are lighted, it will not outshine the Borough Hall and its tree, which have hundreds of lightbulbs.

A sign on the menorah – symbol of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which began Tuesday night – reads, “There will be liberty and justice for all when I am across the street.” Rabbi Levi Neubort of the Anshei Lubavitch Outreach Center in Fair Lawn has erected what he calls a “defiant menorah” on private property facing the municipal building, because borough officials have consistently refused to allow the menorah on town property. read more

NJ joins California lawsuit against EPA

by Star Ledger Staff and wire reports
January 02, 2008, 5:07 PM

California sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today for denying its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUVs, challenging the Bush administration’s conclusion that states have no business setting emission standards.

New Jersey joined the lawsuit and other states were expected to follow. The legal challenge was anticipated after the EPA on Dec. 19 denied California a waiver it needs under the federal Clean Air Act. The lawsuit was filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. read more

Making it isn’t all about hard work.

The myth is simply this: that if an individual will work hard, follow the rules, and be patient that they can be successful. . . The truth is that in accumulating wealth hard work plays a very small role . . . no group has worked harder than the slaves that built this country, the Chinese that built the railroad, or the Mexicans that continue to do the menial labor that drives our information society.

Today, as Tim Wise writes in “The Mother of All Racial Preferences” white baby boomers are benefiting from the largest transfer of wealth in American history as they inherit their parents’ estates. Some of that wealth dates back to the years of slavery, when Blacks were forced to work for free while their white owners and the American economy accumulated the benefits of their toil. Another large category of the transferred wealth is land, much of it stolen by the American government from Native Americans and Mexicans and sold for a pittance to white settlers. For the average white family, however, some of the largest sources of wealth are the result of racial preferences in government policies that were started in the 20th century. read more

Kids’ toy putting kids in coma

Aqua-dots, which were supposed to be the latest and greatest kid toy, are putting kids in coma and their lives at risk.

The toys were supposed to be made using 1,5-pentanediol, a nontoxic compound found in glue, but instead contained the harmful 1,4-butanediol, which is widely used in cleaners and plastics.
 
The Food and Drug Administration in 1999 declared the chemical a Class I Health Hazard, meaning it can cause life-threatening harm.
 
Both chemicals are manufactured in China and elsewhere, including by major multinational companies, and are also marketed over the Internet.   read more

Verizon tinkers with dns & search settings

Overrides Internet Searches With Its Own Results

by Martin H. Bosworth, November 3, 2007

Subscribers to Verizon’s high-powered fiber-optic Internet service (FiOS) are reporting that when they mistype a Web site address, they get redirected to Verizon’s own search engine page — even if they don’t have Verizon’s search page set as their default.

“It was the very first thing I noticed when Verizon finally got FiOS installed here the other day. Very annoying and hardly in the spirit of net neutrality, eh?,” wrote one Webmaster World user, who originally had Google set as his default search engine. read more

More profound than chocolate

Vanilla has converted a new addict.

The truth is, I bought my very first vanilla bean only last week when I was making rice pudding. It’s not that I didn’t know how fantastic they are in all of their clarity of flavor and little-goes-a-long way charm, I was just both too cheap to buy them, and too afraid to go down that slippery slope whereby no extract would do ever satisfy me again . . .

This hasn’t kept me from feeling despicably posh in the week since as my worst fears were quickly confirmed: nothing else will ever do, ever. Fine, brownies don’t need freshly-scraped vanilla speckles, and maybe not banana bread either. Apple pie can do without and, yes, butter cream frosting as well. But custards, creams, puddings and, for certain, white cakes just hit the big time because, sweet mercy, fresh vanilla is a flavor more profound than chocolate. More profound. Than chocolate. Hold me. read more

Human Services directors spread misinformation about kids’ healthcare programs

Four regional directors of the Department of Health and Human Services signed their names on copycat letters sent to editorial pages across the country, spreading misinformation about opposing children’s health insurance proposals.

All four somehow managed to come up with identical wording for the same dishonest points.

For example:
The President supports reauthorizing this important program for low income children [the State Children’s Health Insurance Program] with enough new funding to ensure that no one currently enrolled loses coverage. read more

From Migrant Worker to Neurosurgeon

by Stephen J. Dubner, August 9, 2007

There is an incredibly interesting and moving first-person article in the current New England Journal of Medicine. It’s called “Terra Firma — A Journey from Migrant Farm Labor to Neurosurgery,” by Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, who is the director of the brain-tumor stem-cell laboratory at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico in the mid-1980’s, as a teenage migrant worker who didn’t speak English. Through a long series of hard jobs, accidents, inspiration, and mentorship, he wound up attending Berkeley and then Harvard Medical School. It isn’t a long article; “go read it, now. read more

Mr. Bush – give our kids better health care!

An Immoral Philosophy, by Paul Krugman

When a child is enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (Schip), the positive results can be dramatic. For example, after asthmatic children are enrolled in Schip, the frequency of their attacks declines on average by 60 percent, and their likelihood of being hospitalized for the condition declines more than 70 percent.

Regular care, in other words, makes a big difference. That’s why Congressional Democrats, with support from many Republicans, are trying to expand Schip, which already provides essential medical care to millions of children, to cover millions of additional children who would otherwise lack health insurance. read more

No Quechup Please – say “no” to invites

I was surprised to receive an invitation from a colleague to join the quechup.com network so we can continue our [non-existent] friendship there. I figured G had sent out a notice to everyone in her address book without first removing the people she doesn’t really want to “be friends” with. I only got part of this right.

Every one in G’s address book did get an quechup.com invite, but those invites weren’t sent by G. I’ve been following up on this story since then. read more

Free museum admissions?

I was looking for a list of free admissions hours to museums in the city. I found out that some museums are always free, some allow people to pay “whatever they wish to pay” [which can be a one penny donation] and some are free on certain days, or during certain hours.

In a New York Times article, Roberta Smith intended to propose a challenge to museums to gradually lower their fees until they were always open to the public at no charge. “. . . it is through [artwork] that we discover and explore important aspects of our humanness. [Museums] should be equally available to all, for the good of the individual and society as a whole.” read more

Nobel laureate calls for removal of Bush

Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.

In a keynote speech at the International Women’s Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally.

“Right now, I could kill George Bush,” she said at the Adam’s Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas. “No, I don’t mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that.” read more