Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Peanut Butter and Salmonella, explained

When a product tests out of its specification, the product must be quarantined. That is why specifications exist.

The peanut butter made by the Peanut Butter Corporation of America tested positive for salmonella. It should have been quarantined.
What the manufacturer cannot do, is simply retest to see if another result will be produced. This has been prohibited by law for at least the past 15 years. But that's exactly what PCA did.
How many manufacturers simply retest? Under the current system there is no way to know. FDA, and the public health, depend on employees of the manufacturers themselves to stand up to marketing, sales, and even Presidents and CEOs, to prevent the shipment of contaminated foods, drugs, and devices. Some employees report to corrupt companies in corrupt countries far away. In this US facility, emails from PCA employees disclose a battered staff trying hard to get their company heads to follow the law. These employees are just a paycheck away from not working. This is a one of several gaping holes in the safety net.

FDA has no authority to recall many products without company approval.

FDA needs investigators now.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Senate wants to pay us to shop for junk

Compare the Senate and House stimulus plans:

The Democrats in the House propose to increase spending to help poor, and to save schools and public works projects that have suffered under the tax cuts and silly stimulus packages that have gotten us into this mess. The Senate wants to pay us to shop for houses and cars, buying more environmentally harmful junk from companies and banks who can use taxpayer bail-outs to pay stock options and executive bonuses.

WaPO has a helpful graphic here.

AP's Comparison of economic stimulus plans here.

ACTION: Contact Congress easily - use this link!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our government's War on Dogs

Nope. That's not a misprint. The Post today covers an incident of police incompetance, ineffectiveness, and lies in todays Magazine. It's just one example. The overuse of paramilitary forces occurs regularly in the US and our own neighborhoods - 16 botched raids in VA, 8 in MD, and 2 in DC.

In this case, the government lied about having a no-knock warrant.

They lied about having any warrant at all.

They lied about killing the beloved pets that were running away from them. One of the two dead dogs was shot in the back.

According to the report "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America," US police squads do this all the time, to people who are less photogenic, less rich, and less connected than the Mayor of Berwyn Heights. See how many raids went wrong in your neighborhood on this interactive map.

In addition learning how to use their weapoons of destruction, officers of the law must also learn when to use them. Yes, drug dealers are bad. They are domestic terrorists. And while we stand for liberty against terrorists, white and non-white, domestic and foreign, the founding fathers knew full well some bad people might elude the law. In a famous exchange by Sir Thomas More:

More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?
This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down (and you're just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?
Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!