October 15, 2012

Romney And Bain Capital

Excellent article about Romney's immense oversight at Bain Capital.

A Promise Not Kept - Profits Over People


In early 2012, reports circulated detailing some of the profit-centered entitlement raids that occurred at Bain Capital under Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance became intrigued when asbestos industry defendants appeared on a list of these types of corporate liquidations and commissioned a three-month investigation of the company’s handling of GS Industries through journalist, Gary Cohn. What we uncovered is the true human tragedy of collateral damage stemming from this profit model. We found a community affected by decades of toxic exposure, gasping for breath while picking up the pieces among an uncertain future.

Go to the link to read the rest of the article.

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2012

Experts Forecast Global "Catastrophe of Death and Disease" From Asbestos Use Posted by Gary Cohn

Experts Forecast Global "Catastrophe of Death and Disease" From Asbestos Use
by Gary Cohn

Asia is heading for a huge jump in asbestos-related diseases in the coming decades, according to numerous scientific studies and two of the world’s most prominent experts on public health and asbestos exposure. Not surprisingly, the consequences are expected to be felt most severely in India and China, two emerging economies and most populous countries in the world.

“What we can expect is very predictable – an absolute catastrophe of death and disease,” Dr. Arthur Frank, chairman of environmental and occupational health at Drexel University, said in a recent interview with this reporter. He added that the coming catastrophe is “all preventable.”

“What we can expect is very predictable – an absolute catastrophe of death and disease”
- Dr. Arthur Frank, Chairman of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University

Frank’s cautionary words parallel numerous scientific studies and expert predictions forecasting a surge in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in Asia in the coming decades. This is primarily because India, China, and other countries on the continent continue to use – or in some cases, even increase – their dependence on asbestos for cheap roofing insulation, in cement, and other widespread applications.

Another expert, Dr. Amir Attaran, a scientist, lawyer and acknowledged expert on global health issues, said that the consequences of continued heavy use of asbestos will be felt particularly hard in India, a growing nation of 1.2 billion people with few limits or controls on the use of asbestos.

“It’s a scientific failure, a clinical failure, and a social and moral failure of India. It is a failure of culture and science”
-Dr. Amir Attaran

When asked about the consequences of the country’s widespread use of asbestos, Attaran, a leader in the fight to stop exports of the material to Third World countries, quickly replied: “In disease terms, incalculable. India has no public health controls. They will pay dearly for this with an epidemic of mesothelioma.”

“It’s a scientific failure, a clinical failure, and a social and moral failure of India. It is a failure of culture and science,” Attaran added.

Asbestos and Asia

Asbestos has historically been used as cheap insulation material in construction, ships and cars. In the United States and Europe, it has been banned for most uses because of its clear-cut links to mesothelioma and other diseases, but it is still widely used in Asia and other nations because it is effective, yet relatively inexpensive. In Asia, it is used primarily for cheap roofing insulation, and in cement and power plants. The health hazard of exposure is compounded by the fact that Asian workers often toil in factories with poor ventilation.

A few Asian nations, such as Japan and South Korea, have banned asbestos, but they are the exceptions.

In recent years, numerous studies have documented the anticipated rise in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases over the next several decades in Asia. One recent study, in the Journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, said that Asia, with its large, developing countries, currently accounts for about 64% of the world’s asbestos use. This represents a steady increase -- the continent accounted for a 33% share from 1971 to 2000, and 14% from 1920 to 1970.

Medical experts say that it generally takes people 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. This timetable clearly forecasts that Asia’s current rate of usage is likely to lead to a huge hike in asbestos-related diseases in the coming decades.

An Asbestos Tsunami

Ken Takahashi, the lead author and acting director of the World Health Organization Collaborative Center for Occupational Health, has said that Asia can anticipate an “asbestos tsunami,” in the coming decades. In response, WHO has identified asbestos as one of the most dangerous occupational carcinogens in the world, and says there is an urgent need to stop asbestos use in order to curtail the enormous associated health damages.

An estimated 107,000 people worldwide die each year from asbestos-related diseases, a number that will continue to grow if efforts to curb its usage fail.

While already substantial, this assessment is probably low, according to leading public-health experts, as it is difficult to categorically track deaths from asbestos-related diseases in Asia because India, China and other countries do not to keep reliable data on them.

In recent years, some Asian nations, including Japan and South Korea, have banned or limited asbestos use. But in most other Asian nations, most significantly India and China, the use of asbestos has continued with little or no regulation or oversight. (This reporter got a first-hand view of the problem in the late 1990s while investigating India’s notorious shipbreaking facilities in Alang, where thousands of unprotected workers worked on large, retired vessels with high asbestos content).

Many public health experts, such as Frank of Drexel University, have called for a ban on asbestos exports to Asia. Last year, Frank led a group of 120 medical doctors and other health professionals in a campaign to stop Canada from exporting asbestos to developing nations. Canada, which has largely banned asbestos for domestic use, is the second-largest exporter of asbestos to Asia, behind only Russia.

In an appeal to Canadian medical experts, Frank and his colleagues warned that Canada is morally obligated to consider the “enormous harm to health for generations,” if the exports continue – a plea that so far has gone unheeded.

In the recent interview, Frank reiterated the urgency to stop developed nations such as Canada from exporting asbestos to the Third World, along with the need for Asian nations to ban asbestos and start using available non-lethal substitutes.

“What needs to be done is very simple,” Frank told me. “They should stop using asbestos in Asia.”

However, this is unlikely to happen as long as established countries continue to chase the profits from exporting the carcinogen. “Canada is the world’s biggest hypocrite when it comes to asbestos,” said Frank. “It is taking it (asbestos) out of Parliament buildings but willing to sell it overseas.”

Next up: The hypocrisy of asbestos-exporting nations. Canada, for example, has banned the use of asbestos domestically and is scheduled to begin a $1 billion renovation project to clean its parliamentary buildings of asbestos this summer. Yet Canada remains one of the world’s biggest exporters of asbestos to the Third World.

Tags: asbestos, Asia, Canada, China, Dr. Amir Attaran, Dr. Larry Frank, Gary Cohn, India, mesothelioma

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/gary/experts-forecast-global-catastrophe-of-death-and-disease-from-asbestos-use.htm#ixzz1sEJAQpLV

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 24, 2011

Come To My New Blog And Web Site!

I have a new blog and web site, and I'm inviting everyone to it. This blog/web site focuses on my erotic writing. I will continue to post sex toys reviews on this blog. So, if you want to keep up with me, visit me at my new digs.

Elizabeth Black - Blog and Web site

See you there!


Posted on March 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 01, 2005

The Count Has Access

This is really just a test that The Count has guest posting priviliges.

Posted on September 1, 2005 at 08:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

April 23, 2004

Columbia, Maryland's Paper Ballot Debacle

While everyone is posting about Diebold crashing and burning in California, the news that people who voted using paper ballots in Columbia, Maryland saw their votes thrown out caught my attention. [via Jeanne at Body and Soul.]

I am long familiar with Columbia, Maryland. It's a beautiful city. To read that Columbia, of all places, had stooped to silencing the votes of some of its own residents disheartened me, because I know Columbia's history.

Columbia is one of the first "planned communities" in the U. S. Some of its more wry residents nicknamed it "Stepford." When it was conceived, it was an architectural and urban planning ideal that sought to bring people from all walks of life together to live in utopian harmony. Rich and poor would co-exist. Racial, political, and cultural diversity would be the community's hallmark. Each "village" had its own community center and residential pool to encourage those who lived there to get to know each other. The villages were named and designed based on famous writers including Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway. Columbia blessed its streets with names like "Kilimanjaro," "Sylvan Wood," and "Foreland Garth." The words "road," "avenue," and "street" were noticably absent from street names. There were lots of things to do. Every summer I went to the Columbia Festival of the Arts. I even worked lighting for some of the gigs. I went to Merriwether Post Pavilion for concerts and the annual Renaissance Festival. There were several community theatres, libraries, walking paths, and lakes. There was always a lecture, book reading, or interesting class being held somewhere nearby.

Columbia is not supposed to be the sort of city that throws away the votes of its residents.

Columbia still has that forward-thinking and inclusive reputation despite falling far short of the ideal forty years after its creation. Reality got in the way. Even though it has some apartments, Columbia is an expensive place to live. The people who worked at Columbia Mall lived outside the city because, due to their low salaries, they could not afford to live in Columbia. Wealth was fleeting and illusory. While most of the beautiful homes in those cul-de-sacs sported two late-model cars, too many of my friends and acquaintences had filed for bankruptcy. Those that didn't were likely in steep debt. The crime logs looked no different from similar logs of other cities. It seemed to me that Columbia was colorblind as long as you had the appropriately high salary to live there. Even if you did, race relations weren't as great as the dream had hoped they would be. Columbia seemed to me to lean towards the conservative rather than encourage a multitude of political views.

Being a cynic, I was always skeptical of Columbia's utopian reputation. It's a lovely city and I like it, but reality did not match the image. The paper voting debacle exceeds even my low expectations. It runs contrary to the utopian ideal dreamed up forty years ago, and I'm sad to see Columbia stoop to such a low.

Posted on April 23, 2004 at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 20, 2004

The First Viagra Divorce

She filed because she claimed his use of Viagra made him "unreasonably sexually aggressive." In related news, Germany's health ministry is investigating possible misuse of Viagra in a series of deaths.

Posted on April 20, 2004 at 06:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

March 19, 2004

Marcus Wesson

Who? you ask.

Forgot already, didn't you?

He's the dad who murdered his 9 children in Fresno, California.

Wesson was charged on Tuesday (March 16) with nine counts of allegedly shooting his children. His arraignment was postponed until Thursday so his new attorney can talk to his family and decide whether or not to take the case. Wesson had turned down a public defender. His family has to determine if they can afford a private defense attorney. He is being held in jail on a $9 million bail.

Prosecutors are deciding whether to seek the death penalty.

This is the largest mass shooting in Fresno history.

I thought it was about time for an update. This case is getting some coverage, but there doesn't seem to be the same level of outrage that is being expressed over Melissa Rowland, who has been charged with murder for refusing the c-section that killed one of her newborns.

Posted on March 19, 2004 at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

March 13, 2004

Media Gloss Over Family Murders Again

Update - This case is getting uglier. Police: Fresno Suspect Was a Polygamist. As was the case with the other headlines, you don't know that the man was the father of the children that he had killed. You have to read the article to learn that he "was involved in polygamy and incest, fathering two of the victims with his own daughters, police said Saturday."

Atrios made the same point about Andrea Yates that I made.


What are the THREE VERY SERIOUS OMISSIONS in every one of these headlines? (Not including the misreports of the number of dead.)

sacbee.com -- Crime -- 9 dead in Fresno home

BayNews9.com - News

Police hold man after nine bodies found

Nine found dead in California bloodbath - World - www.theage.com.au

Nine found dead in Californian home - - http://www.theage.com.au

CNN.com - Fresno police chief: 'Horrific' scene at home - Mar 13, 2004

CBS News | Murders Probed For Ritual Link | March 13, 2004 15:10:36

Nine Bodies, 10 Caskets Found in California Home

Seven Found Dead in California, Man Charged-Report

California Man Arrested for Killing 9

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Nine People Found Dead in Calif. Home

Mercury News | 03/13/2004 | 9 people found dead after Fresno standoff

Seven killed in Fresno house

ABC30.com: Nine Bodies Found

RT?News: Man arrested in US on suspicion of murder

StarNewsOnline.com: The Voice of Southeastern North Carolina

Across the nation/Fresno, Calif. 7 found dead in home

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Man Held after Nine Bodies Found in House

Nine People Found Dead in Fresno Home

Capital News 9 | 24 Hour Local News | HEADLINES | Bodies discovered in California

Figure it out yet?

SERIOUS OMISSION #1: NONE of the headlines identified the murder victims as siblings.

SERIOUS OMISSION #2: NONE of the headlines identified several of the siblings as children, including four toddlers and an infant.

SERIOUS OMISSION #3: NONE of the headlines identified the FATHER as the murderer of his own children.

Of all of the coverage I have seen thus far, only six headlines had properly identified all of the parties involved, and not all identified father and siblings together in the same headline. Sadly, the first headline I saw that identified dad as the killer and his children as the victims was not from an American newspaper.

This is one of the worst mass murders in Fresno's history.

The murders took place in the midst of a child custody dispute. Why doesn't that surprise me?

More attention has been paid to the grisly condition of the home and the bodies than to the relationship between the killer and his victims. Ten coffins were lined up against a wall inside the house. The bodies were twisted in a rumpled pile of clothing, making it hard to identify them.

These headlines give the impression that some lone nut walked off the street and killed nine people.

If a mother had murdered all of her children in such a grisly fashion, she would not only have been named outright, she would have been roundly condemned in the media and all over the Internet. Outraged Americans could call for her to either be jailed for life or to be executed.

Oh, wait.... that has already happened. Remember Andrea Pia Yates?

Posted on March 13, 2004 at 03:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)

February 19, 2004

An Interesting Update About AWOL Mom

Remember Simone Holcomb, the AWOL mom who chose to stay behind to raise her children rather than return to duty in Iraq? She would have lost custody of two of her children if she had returned to Iraq?

The problem was that she was really the step-mother of two of those seven children. She helped her husband win custody in a three year contested custody case. I wrote at length about this in an earlier post.

Well.... I recently was contacted by bio-mom, Debbi Piland. Here is the first e-mail I had received from her. She sent me several.

I just ran across your article while trying to pull up all the articlessimone badmouthed me in the media. My name is Debbi Piland (Just got married in november) and I am the biological mother of dustin and taylor holcomb. Your article was pretty accurate. Simone filed paperwork in her handwriting to take my kids away right after they got married. Simone has 2 felonies in the state of Idaho for forgery..Vaughn has a record for mild abuse for beating my daughter last year...The parenting coordinator said that I lost custody because I was too poor to afford a lawyer.Now the newest twist is that vaughn and simone want to move to tennessee to take my kids away from me. But if the state of colorado will acutally let them remains to be seen. I never filed paperwork to get custody while simone and vaughn was gone. she had to make up some lie to justify her going AWOL. and no one looked into it. She is just a coward and she said in court that she wasnt going back no matter what. The judge NEVER ordered her to stay..Vaughn got 4,200 from the army the whole time he was gone and didnt pay me one cent of child support. Vaughns mother had VISITATION 2 x a week, not custody... The whole thing was a fabrication to make a very disturbed woman look like a hero. I'm glad that you could see through her....
Debbi Piland

Piland directed me to an interesting article that did not get much attention from the media. Piland and her ex-husband had joint custody. They agreed "in August 2002 he would get custody of the children except for three weekends a month and four weeks in the summer, when Piland would have custody."

This is yet another case that shows that joint custody doesn't work.

An important point brought out in this article is that Judge David Miller - a retired air force lawyer - " did not order Simone Holcomb to defy the Army's deployment orders or risk losing custody, as some media accounts have suggested."

So Simone Holcomb had been lying to the press that she risked losing custody if she returned to Iraq. Miller gave Simone Holcomb (and her husband, the children's father) custody to "stabilize the children."

Per my previous post, the children have certainly not been stablized. One of them threw temper tantrums at school. The older son was getting poor grades in school. They wrote letters saying "Please don't die". They are having nightmares and they are wetting the bed. Did you know that the 11 year old told a teacher that "my family is falling apart?" Simone Holcomb said they were "acting out."

Of course they were. They were caught in the middle of an ugly custody battle started by Simone and Vaughn Holcomb. The Holcombs had been married for only three years. The custody battle lasted three years. That battle took up most of their married life.

There are other details about this case that I will post about as soon as I obtain the relevant paperwork. Apparently, Piland and Vaughn Holcomb still have joint custody. I also don't think it's out of the court room yet.

Posted on February 19, 2004 at 06:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

February 16, 2004

A Conspiracy Theory Worthy of The X-Files

For all you X-Philes, out there, remember that running theme in show that human beings were being catalogued by the aliens through our smallpox vaccines? It sounded so deliciously loopy at a time when Hillary Clinton complained (rightly) about a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

Well, that loopy conspiracy theory involving childhood immunization vaccines might not be so far off after all...

Dwight at Wampum reports that "The Centers for Disease Control published a study last fall repudiating any possible link between thimerosal and developmental problems like autism in children." However, the Internet is now abuzz with news that the CDC may have covered up findings from "a February 2000 study that finds a significant association between exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines, and developmental issues like autism in children." Various news sources obtained the transcript of a 2000 meeting between members of the CDC, the FDA, representatives of the vaccine industry, and others.

I stopped at the CDC web site and found this:

Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organzation (HMO) Databases

6. There have been reports that one of the CDC scientists who worked on this study now works for a vaccine manufacturer and that this was never mentioned in the publication of the study. Is this true?

Yes. From the time the study started to the time it was published took about 4 years and during that time one of four CDC scientists involved in the study left CDC to work for a pharmaceutical company called GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In addition to the CDC scientists there were also researchers from three health maintenance organizations (HMOs) who participated.

Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, the researcher who left CDC in 2001 to work for GSK, worked at CDC during the critical time when the study was designed and the data were analyzed. As a result, the journal Pediatrics, which published the study on November 4, 2003, listed Dr. Verstraeten’s affiliation as the CDC. Pediatrics, like many professional journals, has a policy of identifying an author’s affiliation at the time a study was conducted (rather than their affiliation when the article is published). This article was thoroughly peer reviewed before it was published. However, to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, CDC should have assured that Dr. Verstraeten’s current employment status, as well as his status when the work was carried out, were both disclosed in the journal article. Once Dr. Verstraeten’s began working at GSK, his involvement in this study was limited to reviewing drafts of the manuscript.

The CDC is also conducting a thimerosal follow-up study and a thimerosal and autism case-control study.

The transcript of the 2000 meeting mentioned above is available online here:

Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information
June 7-8, 2000
Simpsonwood Retreat Center
Norcross, Georgia

Posted on February 16, 2004 at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)