Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Glyphosate Awareness: Flaws in the Ramazzini Study

Yes, somebody found them. For new readers, the Ramazzini Institute studied the incidence of birth defects in rats whose mothers had been exposed to glyphosate, and found that, yes, a lot of those little rats came into this world looking a lot uglier than normal baby rats. Like, some were born without heads. So A Chemist In Langley is quibbling because people like me reported this as evidence supporting a claim of which I'd been skeptical at first--that glyphosate causes major birth defects. Ohhh, ooohhh, don't take it seriously yet, it's only a pilot study, we need to kill a lot more rats, and meanwhile celiac humans need to lose more blood, and stroke survivors need to lose more ground, and "chronic" Lyme Disease patients need to be disabled longer, and thyroid patients need to gain more weight and lose more competence, and migraine patients need to have more headaches, and...The Chemist's quibbles are valid but I think everyone can understand why we don't need to take time to bother about them. When a house is on fire, you don't stand around trying to measure the precise temperature of the flames.


I posted this comment to the Chemist's blog, where it's "awaiting moderation." Since I don't trust people who are still defending glyphosate, however objectively and scientifically, I think I'll re-post it here, free of charge, in the public interest...

Nice clarification. Of course, we have to read these things in context. The Ramazzini study simply destroyed a lot of rats whose immediate reactions left them unfit for the study of effects on the offspring of rats who showed no immediate reactions. Across species, glyphosate consistently produces a wide range of immediate reactions that include almost everything from itching to sudden death. Each individual reaction is statistically rare, but the majority of all lifeforms have undesirable reactions.

I am The Celiactivist because, unlike the majority of suddenly "gluten-sensitive" (or glyphosate-sensitive) people these days, I really do have a very rare gene that's harmless when I'm able to avoid symptom triggers. In the natural world, that's easy: I just don't eat wheat. Mind you, that has ruled out most social eating, but being healthy is worth that. But suddenly, since about 2011 when glyphosate spraying got out of hand in the U.S.,  I started having celiac reactions to lots of things that contained no wheat--even to air and water, after glyphosate pollution. Why was I having those reactions? I wrote to food manufacturers about cross-contamination, talked to neighbors about sprays, most recently stood in an open-air market and watched about half the crowd show sudden visible reactions after "Roundup" vapors blew through the place. Long story short: Glyphosate is the only common factor in my now out-of-control celiac disease, which I've worked hard to keep from *being* a disease. It's also the only common factor in a lot of acquaintances' chronic problems, like chronic Lyme Disease, or the new form of chronic mononucleosis. It's *not* the sole and whole cause of many chronic health problems--yet it noticeably makes them worse, in a different individual way, every time. Every. Blinkin'. Time! So yes, I *am* dam' mad about efforts to defend glyphosate by clutching to statistical straws. We need to step back, look at the big picture, see that glyphosate is making everyone sick, and stop torturing animals to find out exactly how one chemical can have so many different effects.

Perhaps it's time to bust a few more myths. I'm not an anti-capitalist organization. I'm an individual who actually believes capitalism is best checked by moral enlightenment. And I'm willing to admit it if my hypothesis *were* to be disproved, as it might be by repeated independent lab tests showing that my celiac blood did not react to glyphosate the same way it does to wheat gluten, only moreso. I think that's about as likely to happen as snow on the fourth of July, but if it did happen, I'd be willing to report it...

So why are these corporations not willing to fund the test? Hah. I think we all know *that*.

Feh. Today's glyphosate news was actually encouraging on the whole, but toward the end of the live chat I met a troll who, however clueless and however well paid, made me feel really, seriously angry--not just a passing celiac rage, which last seconds, rarely minutes, and deserve mention only as a symptom, but a genuine permanent belief that the troll ought to be forcibly fed a vat of glyphosate, on live television. How can God allow these creatures to go on forcing other people to be sick? Why doesn't God just redirect all the nasty glyphosate reactions into the glyphosate shills? I want to go online and read that Werner Bauman has developed pseudo-celiac sprue, Kevin Folta has lost his job and driver's license due to out-of-control narcolepsy, and the scum who called for censorship of the glyphosate discussion on Twitter is reporting, after three months of total paralysis, that it spent the whole time in pain and trying to scream. I don't want anybody to rush out and murder these people; I want them to suffer, and I want them to know with every writhe and every groan that they did it to themselves and they deserve it. I feel like signing off with the classic

"Yours faithfully,


Friday, March 22, 2019

Tim Kaine on Paid Sick Leave

From U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), editorial comment below:

Dear friend,

Too often, American workers are forced to choose between taking time off to care for their health and receiving a paycheck.

So I joined my colleague Senator Patty Murray on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to introduce the Healthy Families Act to allow workers to earn paid sick leave. This is about making sure that people can take time off when they are ill, need to care for a sick family member, obtain preventive care, or address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.

The legislation would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the bill.

Studies show that paid sick leave can reduce the spread of contagious diseases like the flu and that a national paid sick days policy would reduce emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year.

I hope my colleagues in the Senate and House will join us and help make sure this legislation becomes law.

Visit my website: kaine.senate.gov

Editorial comment: Meh. In my lifetime I've done very few jobs that came with paid sick leave. Mostly I've avoided flu by avoiding jobs where people are crowded together...for instance, when office workers don't have separate offices, they all breathe on each other all day, and fast-mutating viruses like Norwalk Flu just keep going around and around and around. Paid sick leave is fun, and quarantine is a very pleasant and public-spirited thing if only extroverts had enough sense to take it, but my observation was that, in offices that gave paid sick leave, flu circulated anyway. The sicker extroverts get, the more they want to rush up and grab other people and breathe on them.

Morgan Griffith: More on Energy Technology in Southwestern Virginia

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

Friday, March 22, 2019 –
Promising Developments in Research
During the recent congressional district work period, I had a chance to spend some time at Virginia Tech. While on campus, I met with some of the talented people who work and study there and heard firsthand about their important research and development projects. Some of their work promises great benefits for the economy and the quality of life, both here in Virginia and across the country.
My first appointment was with Dr. Roe-Hoan Yoon and the team at the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies. I’ve met with him several times over the years, and he spoke at a symposium on the future of coal I convened in 2016 in Wise.
His work focuses on developing processes to extract rare earth elements (their rarity is due to the difficulty of extraction) from coal byproducts. Viable extraction techniques would provide the American economy with a new supply of rare earth elements, which are prized for advanced manufacturing purposes.
A new supply pipeline of rare earth elements would bring benefits for the economy and jobs. It also would serve national security purposes, as right now the United States almost entirely depends on China for these resources.
At our meeting, Dr. Yoon updated me on progress in this field. A consortium of universities, including Virginia Tech, is moving forward with testing extraction methods. The consortium won a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy last fall for a pilot project to test a hydrophobic-hydrophilic separation process to produce clean coal and specialty carbon products for discarded coal wastes.
I have been happy to support the consortium’s work by encouraging the Federal Government to fund such projects, and I am excited by the potential they hold for a coal breakthrough.
The next meeting of the day regarded the work at Virginia Tech’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center, led by Dr. Sunil Sinha, partially funded by a federal grant.
Clean water is important for health and safety, but aging infrastructure and uninformed maintenance strategies can hinder access to it. We remember the tragic situation in Flint, Michigan, where lead poisoned the water.
SWIM’s mission will help to prevent future failures by gathering data on water infrastructure systems nationwide. Collecting, securely maintaining, and analyzing this data will contribute to a better and broader understanding of our water infrastructure’s status. For example, it can indicate the reliability of various pipe construction materials in the area and the conditions that surround them. Factors like the type of soil or the proximity of railroad tracks can affect the lifespan of a pipe.
The data will be housed with Virginia Tech’s PIPELINE infrastructure DATABASE (PIPEiD), which aims to provide uniform standards for water infrastructure data and centralize it in a geographic information system (GIS), essentially providing a map of the data. This database will help municipalities large and small visualize their infrastructure issues.
I was struck by the usefulness of this approach, and during our meeting I noted that a similar mapping process would be helpful in addressing another critical infrastructure issue: broadband access.
As it happens, during the same week that I visited Virginia Tech, a pilot project was announced that would take a step toward mapping broadband availability. The Broadband Mapping Initiative, conducted by USTelecom and a consortium of broadband companies, is launching a pilot project in Virginia and Missouri that will develop tools and gather information to understand where broadband is – and more importantly isn’t – available.
I am glad to see that Virginia was chosen as one of the pilot states for this initiative. This data will be gathered and shared with consumers as well as the Federal Communications Commission and will hopefully be a productive step towards accurate and comprehensive broadband maps.
These various projects are examining different challenges that face our society and economy today, but they have much in common, including a commitment to research and evidence and cooperation among partners in the private, public, and higher education sectors. I think they offer a model for problem solving. And they are happening in our part of Virginia.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Care Packages

It's been a while since the e-mail has shown any great decline in Americans' willingness to pack Care Packages for our troops overseas. This morning it did.

Gentle Readers, the correspondent claims our young people are undersupplied with

beef sticks, hygiene products, sunflower seeds, corn nuts, and laundry products


blankets and hand warmers

for those in Afghanistan, where altitude can keep March weather bitterly cold.

Hmm. Amazon almost never has the best prices on most of these items, but it's time for an Amazon link-a-rama anyway. Here are some images to keep in mind on your next trip to the dime store:

Old Wisconsin Beef Sausage Snack Sticks, Naturally Smoked, Ready to Eat, High Protein, Low Carb, Keto, Gluten Free, 26 Ounce Resealable Package

O'Keeffe's Working Hands & Healthy Feet 3 ounce Combination Pack of Tubes
Vo5 Sh Herbal Escapes Ocn Size 12.5z Vo5 Shampoo Herbal Escapes Ocean Refresh 12.5z
Magic Shaving Powder Blue Regular Strength Case Pack 12
Amazon Brand - Solimo Thick Maxi Pads for Periods, Super Absorbency, Unscented, 192 Count (4 packs of 48)
Tide HE Turbo Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent, Original Scent, Single 100 oz
Planters Dry Roasted Sunflower Kernels, 5.85 Ounce
Planters Corn Nuts Chilli Picante Flavor, 4 oz
Soft Premium Cotton Blanket - Queen/Full size - Cozy Cotton Bed Blankets - All season- Oversized Throw Quilt - Perfect for layering- 90"x90" by Avira Home
Sudawave Men's Knitted Wool Gloves with Leather Patch on Palm Micro Fleece Lined Warm Winter Gloves (Black)

...or the next time you knit or crochet!