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onecareus.gifWhile AB 8 (horrible compromise bill) and SB 840 (infinitely superior bill) are California-specific pending legislation, the ramifications of which bill is ultimately passed (if any) will ring throughout our country since insurance companies, the medical industry, and politicians will be watching to see what they can get away with in YOUR state. Please take heed and most definitely take action. The following letters are reprinted with permission from the “Health Care for All” MySpace blog.

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ACTION ALERT!

TAKE ACTION to STOP AB-8. Everybody in California can go to: Legislator Search – Type in your zip code and call your Senator and follow up with e-mails no later than 9/11. And please forward this to all your e-mail lists off MySpace in California. Please see below the official Health Care For All opposition letter on AB8 for talking specific talking points.

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California’s Unhealthy Bill: Fake Healthcare Reform A Victory for Schwarzenegger — And a Boon for Insurance Companies

Posted September 5, 2007 | 10:10 PM (EST)

In alliance with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democratic leaders of the state Legislature, led by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez are rushing to enact a substandard health reform plan that will not reduce the health insecurity of California families.

They’re apparently even willing to jeopardize Sen. Barbara Boxer and their own party’s slim hold on the United States Senate along the way.

Here’s the deal: Nuñez and some other Democrats are actively working with Schwarzenegger to put together a “compromise” healthcare package.

Schwarzenegger, the main architect of that plan, gets to claim credit for supposedly solving the state’s healthcare crisis using “bipartisan consensus.” As collateral damage to Democrats, Schwarzenegger can tout this deal to boost his candidacy against Boxer in 2010.

Nuñez could then get the governor’s support for extending his term as speaker.

This constellation of events may be dandy for a career politician or two, but it leaves behind a lot of other Californians, who will have to contend with a poor healthcare bill full of holes.

AB 8 does nothing to rein in rising insurance premiums — up 87% nationally this decade — or rising co-pays, deductibles and other health fees. Which means that costs, already unaffordable for far too many, would continue to spin out of control.

The bill fails to limit rising prescription drug costs, especially notable at a time when Schwarzenegger has just eliminated funding for his “voluntary” drug price restraints that were so ballyhooed last year by the governor and the authors of AB 8.

It is not universal, as many of the currently uninsured would remain without access to care. It fails to assure uniform, comprehensive benefits, and therefore perpetuates an increasingly multi-tiered health system based on the ability to pay.

It fails even to require insurance companies to provide insurance. They would not have to offer coverage to those with serious medical conditions — those people would instead be dumped into a publicly funded high-risk pool, earning big insurance companies millions in additional profits while bankrupting the public pool with the sickest, costliest patients.

The bill does not even protect patients’ choice of physicians, hospitals or other providers.

And, most critically, the plan reinforces and expands an insurance-based system — the source of much of the present crisis — thereby subverting real reform for years to come.

At the center of the plan is a mandate on businesses to either provide health coverage or pay taxes into a fund to buy it for their employees. The new tax would fall between the 7.5% of payroll costs favored by Nuñez and the 4% Schwarzenegger proposes.

No matter where the compromise figure ends up, it will be far less than many employers now pay for health benefits. One-fourth of all California businesses that provide health benefits currently pay more than 15% of their payroll for health premiums, according to the California Healthcare Foundation. As a result, businesses that now provide health coverage to employees would have an incentive to drop it.

Moreover, the mandate on employers is unlikely to survive a legal challenge; a similar Maryland bill was thrown out by the federal courts for violating federal benefits law.

Schwarzenegger continues to push his proposal to force most uninsured people to buy insurance or face severe penalties. So far, Democrats have resisted this proposal, but many expect them to accept some form of individual mandate as the final price for Schwarzenegger’s blessing for the term limits initiative.

Last year, Democrats united behind SB 840, a single-payer-style, enhanced “Medicare for all” bill that would have provided guaranteed healthcare for everyone, controlled costs, eliminated co-pays and deductibles, guaranteed choice of provider, and gotten the insurance companies out of the way.

Similar systems are succeeding in every other industrialized democracy — including Schwarzenegger’s homeland, Austria. If the politicians in Sacramento are concerned about patient care, they will not now settle for a bad healthcare bill that will further degrade our healthcare safety net. A bad healthcare bill is worse than no bill.

Deborah Burger, RN is president of the California Nurses Association.

Health Care for All California, a statewide chapter-based organization, has led the movement to pass single payer health care since 1997. HCA sponsors both SB 840 (Kuehl) and the OneCareNow Campaign, a growing grassroots movement to pass single payer health care. SB 840, now called the “gold standard of health care,” would solve the state’s health care crisis by providing for equitable and affordable universal health insurance and a single standard of high quality comprehensive care while preserving the state’s health care infrastructure of providers, hospitals and pharmacies as private and competitive businesses.

We oppose AB 8 for the following reasons:

  • AB 8 will expand the health insurance industry, not solve the health care crisis.

First and foremost, under the banner of moving toward universal health care, instead, AB 8 will leave millions uninsured or underinsured while strengthening and perpetuating an insurance system that currently rations health care by excluding those who cannot afford to pay the high cost of insurance premiums. Insurance companies decide what is covered and what is not. They deny care to the uninsured, the underinsured and the insured with preexisting conditions. Health insurance companies ration health care to secure profits.

The unsolvable issue for the status quo is that although health care is treated as such, it is not a commodity. It is a life-giving and life-saving service that is needed by everyone. Providing affordable and quality health care for Californians is not the mission of for-profit insurance entities. AB 8 will not alter the profit motives of this industry, nor will it change the responsibility insurance companies have to their stockholders. The reforms AB 8 proposes to place on current insurance practices will not solve the state’s health care crisis. Instead, they will result in higher insurance prices for individuals, businesses and governments.

  • AB 8 does not provide for the necessary cost controls to achieve affordable health care.

Both state and national studies indicate that including all residents in a single risk pool that is insured by a government administered non-profit insurance trust fund is the only method that will save billions of health care dollars–enough to provide affordable and comprehensive universal health care. Although AB 8 provides for preventative health care, disease management and administrative cost controls, it does not do enough to control costs. With its piece meal approach, AB 8 cannot achieve the significant cost savings that a single payer system can. In addition to the above measures, a system as provided by SB 840 can control costs by establishing evidenced based standards of care and by utilizing capital investment management, consolidated budgetary authority, system-wide health care planning and the state’s power to negotiate lower prices for durable medical devices and bulk prescription drugs for 36 million Californians.

  • AB 8 does not provide protections needed to guarantee affordability.

This bill leaves too many Californians vulnerable to health care reform that will be too expensive, will not provide enough coverage and for many, no coverage at all. AB 8 does not provide for guaranteed affordability and does not limit co-payments, deductibles or other out-of pocket costs. Although AB 8 does allow for premium subsidies for enrollees with household incomes at or below 300 percent of the poverty line, it does not provide a benchmark for cost sharing between employers and employees.

AB 8 requires that all defined employers spend 7.5 percent of Social Security wages on health care expenditures, which includes purchasing health care coverage for their employees and could include as well, contributions to health savings accounts and other health care programs that do not provide direct health care coverage.Many employers who currently provide health care coverage spend more than 7.5 percent of Social Security wages for the coverage they provide to their employees. AB 8 does not provide minimum coverage standards for the employer market, which could encourage some of these employers to reduce or drop the coverage they provide.

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage have increased by 73 percent since 2000, while wages increased only 15 percent concurrently. AB 8 provides for no state oversight of health insurance rates.

A recent joint report by the California Budget Project and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research finds that “many families spend a substantial amount on health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and could face financially devastating medical expenses if they are not adequately protected.” The report states that health care reform legislation should take into account the income needed in California to pay for other necessities such as housing, food, child care, and the risk of extraordinary health care costs. The report suggests placing limits on out-of-pocket costs as well as full subsidies up to 200 percent of the poverty line and partial subsidies “well above” 300 percent of the poverty line. AB 8 does not do this.

AB 8 will place many individuals and families in harm’s way.

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I’ve always admired Keith Olbermann’s ability to put into words many of the thoughts I am unable to eloquently express. He has outdone himself with this video showcasing the outright lies, hypocrisy, immorality and lunacy of George W. Bush. (Here is the text for this video from 9/4/07).

While the entire video is incredible, it’s the last thirty seconds which especially touch upon the outrage I, and countless other Americans, feel toward this entire Iraq situation; Keith gives a voice to our concerns–our demands. It’s in this last half-minute of time that I can’t help but be reminded of a definite “must see” movie I didn’t think I’d like at all, but found myself loving, “V for Vendetta.” I can see legions of citizens fed up with GWB and his regime’s status quo, figuratively standing alongside Keith Olbermann during this video, as were the thousands of masked citizens in the final scenes of “V for Vendetta” fed up with the fascist “Norsefire” party. Could someone please hand me a Guy Hawkes Keith Olbermann mask, please?

Keith Olbermann Special Comment from 9/4/07

Found out about this little gem via a MoveOn.org email I just received. Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, where on earth did the apparent common sense, common decency, and intelligence you obviously had shades of in 1994 disappear to come the GWB regime? How different the world would be today, and how many thousands upon thousands of lives on both sides of this disgusting war would not be shattered due to death and injuries, if ONLY you had retained some of your correct thoughts from 1994. Shame on you for losing your way, thereby leading others to lose their lives.

Cheney in 1994 on Iraq

mattel.jpgWill 2007 forever be remembered as “The Year of the Recalls”, with overwhelming numbers of them traced back to China? First the never-ending melamine-tainted pet food scandal, then diethylene glycol-laced toothpaste and cough syrup, and for this month of August lead paint showing up in the worst place: children’s toys. It is the lead paint scare that is striking at the heart of Mattel, once again, and this time powerful, loose magnets (if swallowed they can cause intestinal blockage) are added to the toy giant’s woes.

Here are some links to stories covering the issue, along with news of a law suit being filed in the case of the previous lead paint recall by Mattel’s Fisher-Price unit a couple weeks ago, and news of the suicide of a Chinese executive involved with the Fisher-Price recall.

Here are recall information links:

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As is evidenced from my previous entries relating to music, it’s pretty apparent that my taste runs toward the eclectic side, and if there is a band I listen to that probably exemplifies musical eclecticism and fusion best it would have to be the fantastic band I’ll be seeing at a private radio station (KPRI) gig tonight, Ozomatli. This quote from a BC Music review puts the band’s sound on their latest venture “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” into perspective quite well, “Ozo is, as ever, a instrumental atom bomb compared to most pop out there – the disc burns with their unique energy and soul.” While I don’t think I’d use the category of “pop” for Ozomatli, it is so true that their music IS an instrumental atom bomb compared to most others. Their CDs are truly worthy of spending a bit of time getting to know–as is the band!

I really don’t have time to write much about them other than to tell you to get your fannies over to iTunes or your local record shop to buy “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” ASAP! Here is a link to a Google page of reviews for the CD, and here is the Ozomatli web site. I’ll also include a couple of videos for you to enjoy. I did do a brief story about Ozomatli about a year ago, so will post that for you, too. Off to get ready for a night of fun with friends, incredible music, TONS of dancing, and an all-around celebration of life! 🙂

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*** 8/7/07 UPDATE: Ozomatli was ON FIRE at Anthology in San Diego last night!!! While they only played just under one hour of music, it was jam packed, crowd-pleasing, shake-your-ass-until-you-can’t-shake-it-anymore music, and they definitely had the crowd eating out of their hands. I implore you to hit the link I offered above to Ozo’s web site to find out when they will be hitting your town, then buy those tickets ASAP and prepare for one hell of a good time! Thank you Ozomatli (especially for performing one of my new faves: Magnolia Soul-lyrics copied below!) and KPRI for a fantastic night. Despite the fact the bathroom door at the venue decided to slice a chunk of my right thumb off, it was STILL an incredible evening of great music, high energy, and memorable times with friends. :)***

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“City of Angels” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

(Ozomatli “City of Angels” music video directed/edited by Matthew Johnston and shot by Willie Tipp. Winner of the “Wanna Mess with the Dragon?” music video contest)

“Magnolia Soul” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

This isn’t the best video, but is from a live performance of one of my favorite songs on the new CD. As a reviewer said, it’s a scathing indictment of post-Katrina chaos. Ozomatli does an incredible job of getting out very important political messages in their music.

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Magnolia Soul

magnolia.jpg

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Justin:

Dear magnolia, what’s crackin’?

Been a long time since I last saw your face

Never forget the day out in the sticks I saw your crecsent smile in place

All the way from uptown, downtown, lakeside to river

Heard W don’t care about them

Gotta watch who you make ya friend

Otherwise FEMA will come through and backstab you again

Just some advice to lend

Weak ties will bend

Through the dark true light will win

And they said that this the end

But we fixin’ to make them saints march on again

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Jabu:

Polite little hurricane, called for she came

Officials knew the deal and they didn’t do a thang

Knew her every move

Yep Katrina was her name

The mayor had the whole game in the palm of his hand

Hand in the pot

Caught cold and oh!/ shouldv’e fixed them damn levees long time ago/ but they didn’t take the chance to do it

Pitty pat between the pres and the mayor

Folks was dying (die) too

A gang of us in the superdome

We’re in the heat

Folks in wheelchairs feet swole, nothing to eat

So to the kids and the families that lost

I rhyme for, ‘nolia clap

Show the world your sooooooul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Bridge:

Everybody clap them hands

Still steppin to the second line band

Still stompin’ to the zulu drum

You can’t stop this native son

A huh huh

Let the good times roll

Let the good times roll pretty mama can’t stop magnolias soul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

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Here’s the story I did last year:

ozoaacover.jpgI dare you to not move your feet and fanny (and any other body parts you so choose) while listening to this band! As a matter of fact, the first time I ever heard Ozomatli we couldn’t see them, but boy we sure could hear them…and feel them! Our bodies sensed the excitement and the rhythms from their horn section and drums…they infused our bodies. We were magically drawn toward the music like bees to honey…to the sweet sounds of their voices and the potent lyrics. Unfortunately such was the case with hundreds of other bodies who were all trying to get near the stage, and sadly blocking our ability to get anywhere near it. The closest we could get had the band members looking like small dolls dancing on stage. Sadly this first encounter with the band would not allow us to embrace the entire Ozomatli experience (and trust me, an Ozo show IS an experience!), but it did allow us to get a taste of what would soon become an addiction.

ozofillmore.jpgThis first brief experience with Ozomatli was back on a beautiful Saturday in September of 2002 at a music festival called Street Scene. Back in the day it was held in the Gaslamp Quarter, an area of downtown San Diego, California. Sadly the festival has moved to Qualcomm Stadium (where the San Diego Chargers play…at least for now…sigh), and even though I have to admit to not having attended Street Scene since they moved there, I just can’t imagine it having the same ‘flavor’ as it did by being held in the fabulous historic streets of downtown San Diego. (Street Scene has moved a couple of times since I did this review–twice this year!)

Since that initial taste of addiction was born on 9/7/02, thankfully the fixes have had much more success than that day at Street Scene. The next couple of times I saw Ozomatli were at one of the BEST venues to see a show in San Diego County, the Belly Up Tavern. It’s located in Solana Beach, which is in Northern San Diego County, literally just north of the Del Mar Race Track and Fairgrounds. I L-O-V-E the Belly Up Tavern! I’ve pretty much spent some of my best concert-going times there since I became legal (oh so long ago!)…awesome music…great service…small venue with great sound…and incredibly memorable times with friends! Yup, love that place.

ozostreetsigns.jpgSo back to Ozomatli. Right now this GRAMMY® Award winning, Los Angeles-based band with an active political conscience has ten band members, a wide array of instruments, and several of their members contributing to vocals. It’s hard to describe Ozo‘s music other than to say it’s a FABULOUS fusion of latin and world music, hip-hop (which I’m usually NOT a fan of), heavy doses of political activism, reggae, a hot brass section and elaborate percussion, all woven together to get you rocking your body off on the dance floor. My experience has been that there truly is NO WAY you can be at an Ozomatli show and NOT move your body. No way possible! The music invades your soul, your head starts to bob, your toes start tapping, next thing you know your fanny is off the seat and you’re moving like you’ve been dancing to this blend of music all your life. It honestly is an experience that consumes every fiber of your being, mentally and physically. While it may leave you completely drained after the show, there is actually an interesting sense of renewal and invigoration you feel when all is said and done. And speaking of done, this band finishes each show by grabbing their instruments (drum included!), heading out into the audience, snaking their way around folks, while singing and dancing with the audience as they head out the door. I guarantee an Ozomatli concert will be one of your BEST musical experiences EVER!

So click on the links I’ve provided throughout this page to get more information on the band, sample some music, check out their merchandise, and most of all find out when they might be touring in your area.

May you fall victim to the Ozomatli addiction like I did and soon consider yourself an Ozo fanatic. No 12-step program required.

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Here we go again, folks! We are now facing ANOTHER Chinese-manufactured items recall due to a lead poisoning hazard, this time nearly one million Fisher-Price toys. Below is a copy of the recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This recall comes on the heels of the Thomas the Tank Engine recall, also due to lead poisoning items manufactured in China. Here is an interesting read from early July where China says the entire safety issue is being “hyped” by the media, and it seems they are parroting the same “Chinese exports are safe” line in this article posted today, yet softening their stance in this one. Here’s hoping that the US team currently in Beijing for talks regarding more stringent regulations with the food and drug trade between our country and China, will be able to come home with rules in place which will have us all breathing a bit easier regarding the safety of products we use for ourselves and our pets.

UPDATES:

Here are a couple of links to Mattel pages:
8/1/07 Fisher-Price Toys with Lead Paint Hazard Recall
ALL Mattel recalls

 

 

NEWS from CPSC

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2007
Release #07-257
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (800) 916-4498
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908


Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children’s toys

Units: About 967,000

Importer: Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y.

Hazard: Surface paints on the toys could contain excessive levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recalled involves various figures and toys that were manufactured between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007 and were sold alone or as part of sets. The model names and product numbers for the recalled toys, which are all marked with “Fisher-Price,” are listed below. The toys may have a date code between 109-7LF and 187-7LF marked on the product or packaging.

Sold at: Retail stores nationwide from May 2007 through August 2007 for between $5 and $40.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price. Consumers will need to return the product and will receive a voucher for a replacement toy of the consumer’s choice (up to the value of the returned product).

Consumer Contact: For additional information contact Fisher-Price at (800) 916-4498 anytime or visit the firm’s Web site at www.service.mattel.com

(PRODUCT LISTED REMOVED DUE TO FORMATTING ISSUES: please click link above for entire list.)

Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

(***ADDED 7/12/07: Looks like Michael may WILL be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight on MSNBC at 8PM EST, with a replay 4 hours later.***)

Have to say that anticipating a television show is not something I’ve done in a long time (okay, I was curious about The Sopranos finale ;)), but waiting for the promised “Unedited Part II” of Michael Moore and Wolf Blitzer’s firework-laced gabfest on The Situation Room definitely had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I’ll include both videos here (even though Part I was included in this blog posting) since seeing them one right after the other keeps the continuity of Michael’s outrage much more so than the 24 hour time lapse given to us courtesy of CNN.

A huge thank you to those who take the time to upload these videos to YouTube so the rest of us can view them! 🙂

Part I-CNN Gets Blitzed by Michael Moore

Part II-Michael Moore/Wolf Blitzer

And speaking of CNN, when are they going to catch a clue that Larry King’s time has come and gone–long ago? It was truly painful to watch him attempt to have anything to do with the serious debate that Dr. Gupta and Michael should have been having on their differences regarding where health care system facts came from. I felt Dr. Gupta was attempting to have some sort of dialogue with Michael, but Larry kept trying to play referee when one wasn’t really needed. It seemed that the majority of times when Michael was attempting to set the record straight and explain where/why/how SiCKO came up with facts for the film, his turn to talk was cut short. It would be nice to see CNN actually allow Dr. Gupta and Michael the opportunity Larry King “claims” they will to actually have a serious and much-needed hour of (hopefully non-Larry King interrupted!) discourse on this crucial topic.

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 1 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 2 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 3 of 3

 

Here is Keith Olbermann’s take on the Michael-vs-Wolf/CNN episode, with input from Rachel Maddow. I would include the video here, but the page is taking a long time to load due to all the other videos. And here is one I would NOT bother to include since Joe Scarborough is showing what a moron he can be (I’ve actually agreed with him on a few–very few-occasions) by attacking Michael’s weight issue instead of discussing the important arguments Michael brings up. Way to deal with the topic at hand, Joe.

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I haven’t touched base with the pet food recall story in a bit so thought I’d check into what the latest news has been. The head of China’s version of our FDA was executed yesterday for his part in the horrific “lethally tainted products” fiasco from which people and pets around the world have been suffering. An owner who truly believes her pet died from tainted food, albeit 10 months prior to the initial Menu Foods pet food recall, is denied her claim by Nutro Products, Inc. And while this Opinion posting on USA Today barely mentions the pet food recall, it does a good job of enlightening the reader on how it is that so many tainted products have come to the USA from China (such as the Thomas the Tank Engine toys), and that consumers MUST continue to put pressure on our own government in order to have them place equal pressure on China.

(***Added 7/11/07: Click here for videos of Michael on Larry King Live and The Situation Room on 7/10/07. Added 7/10/07: Scroll down past the video below to read an email notice sent out this morning about Michael being on CNN and other shows today/Tuesday!***)

Shout-out to Health Care For All for sending out a bulletin which alerted me to this GREAT video of Michael Moore unloading (as many of us would LOVE to!) about many things (not just the health care system in the U.S.) while on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Watch the fireworks between Michael and Wolf below, then click on this link to read more on Michael’s web site, especially this link which sets the record straight on some of the misinformation in the Gupta story shown prior to Michael’s interview.

As a side note and in regard to Lou Dobbs’ comment regarding Michael Moore in the last 5 seconds of the video, you can kiss my “left wing promoting” lily white fanny, Lou! Nice journalistic objectivity…not!

CNN gets blitzed by Michael Moore

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Added 7/10/07: Just got following email this morning from Michael’s webmaster. I also added the Michael Moore/Jon Stewart clip (mentioned in the email) to my VodPod on this blog.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Today, Michael Moore will be on CNN again for Part Two with Wolf Blitzer, (Did you see Part One? And our response?), a new appearance on Larry King Live with Dr. Sanjay Gupta (appearing, we assume, to apologize for his factual errors), and a rerun of Mike’s appearance on Jon Stewart from 13 days ago.

Those of us who maintain Michael’s website have started a truth squad. Watch for our daily reports on how the media lies, distorts and carries the water for Big Pharma and Big Insurance.

We’ll leave you with this analysis of how the mainstream media deals with Michael Moore.

Thanks!

Webmaster
MichaelMoore.com

 

guitard_cover.jpgLast night I read an incredible, thought-provoking, straight-from-the-heart blog entry by Candye Kane and just knew I had to share it with all of you this 4th of July. I immediately sent off an email asking for her permission to repost it here and was very pleased when she graciously responded with permission to do so. The thoughts she shares, the feelings she expresses, and the desires she has, are those which I hope speak to as many of you as they did to me. As much as I abhor this current administration and the horrific choices GWB and his right-wing, closed-minded, power-hungry cronies have made, I DO love my country and all that it CAN be. I think Candye has put into words the hopes and dreams we would all like to see come true.

And for those of you who haven’t heard of Candye Kane, tsk-tsk-tsk. Okay, I’ll cut you a little bit of slack since she’s a local talent I’ve had the good fortune of knowing about for some time, but Candye’s reach goes far beyond her SoCal background with worldwide fans of her distinctive, enjoying-the-heck-out-of-life persona and musical abilities. I HIGHLY advise you to click on her MySpace page, hit up her web site, catch her on her current “Guitar’d and Feathered” tour, Google her if you’d like, then hightail it over to iTunes, Amazon.com, or Ruf Records, and buy, buy, BUY all the Candye Kane music you can afford! I’ve got “White Trash Girl” playing on the computer right now and am enjoying the heck out of Candye’s powerful voice, the fun lyrics (track #13…enough said! ;)), and the energized mood her music puts me in. It’s admittedly hard to actually sit still at the computer to type this out when her music is infusing my body with the desire to get up and dance around!

Candye’s life story is one I think even the most imaginative of authors would have a hard time coming up with, and her music can’t really be pigeonholed into any one category, so check her out for yourself. You can thank me later! 😉 Happy and safe 4th of July, everyone!

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Here’s her fantastic blog entry, reprinted with her permission. Thanks, Candye!

  • Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    Happy no more war, light up the smog free sky w/fireworks 4th!

    Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and I am here in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is corn field country where people actually stop for you when you get a flat tire, drive you through the Mcdonalds on the way to pick up the new tire, pay for lunch and then insist on changing your tire for you on the side of the freeway while the whole band stands aghast, watching. (This actually happened!) This is plain-spoken people country where they look you in the eye, with a firm handshake that they mean, and do what they say they will do. This is the heartland part of the US where young boys and girls go off to war because they really believe in our Grandparents vision of a democratic, honest country that would never condone torture. This is the part of the country where young soldiers go off to war not only because they want to see the world and get a shot at a good education but because they were brought up to respect the flag and the people whose blood spilt for it.

    I am not a real patriot. There are a lot of problems in this great country of ours. We are stuck in the quagmire of this losing war in Iraq; we will leave our huge deficit to our kids and grandkids; The President has an imaginary friend who gives him advice (that, or he hears voices in his head.) Our government seems to virtually ignore global warming and is so gluttonous from the big money they get from oil lobbies that they spend zip on research for new energy resources. They would rather worry about keeping hard working Mexicans out of the USA and worry about whether two men might choose to marry and live in a committed relationship. The health insurance problem is vast, not only because we poor people have to choose between paying our phone bill or getting a check up, but because a woman of my size can be denied health insurance even with low blood pressure and low cholesterol, just based on my weight. Yes, it’s a mess here, my friends.

    Still, I am happy to be an American. Why? Because in my neighborhood growing up, there were black people, Mexicans and white kids. There were Catholics, Jews and Mormons. (I have been all three!) We didn’t all agree about everything and we spent a lot of time fighting with each other but I learned early that people come in all sizes and colors. Here in America, there are mosques and churches of all kinds, synagogues and Krishna temples. There is Eckankar and Paganism, self-realization and even the dreaded scientology. There are women who walk around in cut offs and halter-tops, butches with beards and rings in their noses, women wearing Islamic head coverings and Amish dresses and bonnets at the same rest stop. There are hookers who hang out on my street and sell their wares to men who drive by in their souped up Toyotas with their stereo so loud it makes my I,U.D. vibrate. There are surfer boys, retired Marines, lesbians, Jehovahs witnesses, Rastafarians and Samoan Christians all on the block where I live.

    I love America because my government sucks, but I have the right to write about it and talk about it and write letters to my congressperson and my local paper. I have the right to protest and hold up signs and yell and scream at rallies. I don’t have every right that I should have. I should have the right to marry whomever I want and I should have the right to be treated the same way under the law as any married couple, heterosexual or otherwise. Poor people and regular folks should have the right to run for office and it shouldn’t be about money. But I still believe in an America that will eventually try to right its wrongs. (Not the ones that can’t be righted; we can’t bring back the buffalo or give the Native Americans back all their land. We can’t take back our historic mistakes like slavery, refusing shiploads of Jewish children and women during WW II and Japanese interment camps. Some wrongs are so horrific they cannot be reversed or fixed.)

    However, just like women fought for the right to vote, and people fought in the 60’s for freedom and civil liberties for every American regardless of skin color, I believe someday we will get back to the noble American ideals of our forefathers and mothers. The America that our Grandparents loved and fought for; The America that valued honor and believed diversity made a country stronger just like the statue of liberty inscription said. An America that really does take care of its poor and its meek and huddled masses; An America that doesn’t just fill us with fear while lining their pockets but cares about each citizen, poor and rich, gay and straight and strives to protect each of us. That’s the America that I am reminded of when I am here with the good people of the Midwest.

    There are good and bad people in every city in the world and I am not naïve enough to think otherwise. But I want to be the kind of American who helps my neighbor fix a flat and pays for lunch while doing it. I want to be the American that holds out a hand to someone who is suffering. I want to get my childhood vision back of an America that was good and noble, honest and true. A country where your vote counted and you didn’t just have to vote for the evil guy or the other evil guy. A country where we would never hold people in prisons without due process or overthrow the Geneva Convention as antiquated and out of date. I believe in an America that is compassionate and cares about our planet and all its inhabitants, realizing that we are all one in the great cosmic universe. So, when I sing that National anthem tonight at my show in Lincoln, I will envision that America and these salt of the earth American kids who are dying to defend her. I will envision us all as one human family protecting and caring about each other in a pollution free, peaceful world with polar bears and hybrid cars and health insurance affordable to us all!

    Happy no more war, light up the smog free sky with fireworks 4th of July!

I’m feeling a strong need to seek out some uplifting and positive news stories. Maybe it’s just my personal frustration with several things in my own little universe or the bigger frustrations I feel with everything from this inexcusable, disgusting, and sad war to the ridiculous amount of time a not-to-be-named hotel heiress is garnering for being a spoiled brat. Who knows what exactly it is that’s sticking in my craw, but it’s got me having a mad desire to do something proactive to change my mood and hopefully change the mood of some of you as well. So in my sudden quest to seek out something (anything!) that is making this world a better place I decided to add a “Doing Good” regular feature to this blog. Okay, first step taken (truth be told, the first step was popping iTunes on party shuffle since music is usually my panacea for a cruddy mood), next step was to set about the internet seeking out positive sites. Easier said than done, sadly. Ultimately I found myself smack-dab on my MySpace friends list, which is mostly full of causes and bands I support, so it makes sense I’d find my first “Doing Good” subject there: The New Orleans Kid Camera Project(their MySpace page).

I’ll introduce this great organization by posting their mission statement:

The New Orleans Kid Camera Project was created to address the psychological and emotional impacts of Hurricane Katrina on children returning home to New Orleans. Through the use of photography, creative writing and mixed media, children from flooded neighborhoods explore their environment and express themselves, their stories and feelings with their friends. This project provides a venue for growth and recovery. By teaching the children tangible skills and exposing them to new means of expression, we hope to empower them to impact their lives and environment.

Those of you who have been frequent visitors to this blog are well aware that I’m working toward getting my teaching credential, and with my minor being in Visual and Performing Arts, it goes without saying that ANYTHING which involves children in such a productive and creative manner, such as The New Orleans Kid Camera Project, is going to be something I wholeheartedly support. My disgust with the lack of support by George Bush’s administration for those affected by Hurricane Katrina is something that still gets my blood boiling. Just thinking back on those first few days of the catastrophe, with our own citizens being disregarded in the degrading manner they were, the people and animals scavenging for safety and food, the buses and trailers sitting empty, all has me going between sadness and fury in a matter of minutes. And to think apathy on the part of our government still continues–appalling. So to see a group of people in New Orleans addressing the various needs the children in the area are facing, and will continue to face for some time to come, is something which definitely brings a smile to my face and warms my heart.

I hope many of you will visit their site, read their fantastic Philosophy/Visions/Goals page, share in the fine photos and videos created by the children, and especially donate any time/money/equipment that you can. I also hope that everyone’s mood is a bit better now–mine is! 🙂


(***Added 6/15/07:UNSEENAMERICA “New Orleans Kid Camera Project”
Gallery 1199
310 West 43rd St New York
Admission: FREE. Exhibition from Wednesday, June 6 through Friday, June 29, 2007.
Reception- Thursday June 21, 2007 from 5:00 to 7:30pm
http://www.bread-and-roses.com/whatsnew.html***)

 

Short on time but wanted post a link to a story about the head of China’s Food and Drug Agency being sentenced to death (there is a video included). I’m also including the press release regarding the recall of Nutra Nuggets 40# Lamb Meal and Rice formula dry dog food.

China Tackles Food Safety Problems-ChinaDaily.com

China’s Food and Drug Agency Chief Sentenced To Death-Guardian.co.uk

China Sentences Ex-Top Drug Regulator To Death-globeandmail.com

China Food Boss Sentenced To Death-english.aljazeera.net

Nutra Nuggets Recall Press Release

Diamond Pet Foods Recalls Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
in 40 Lb. Bags Due to Melamine Cross Contamination

Meta, Mo. (May 23, 2007) – Diamond Pet Foods announced that it has recalled a limited quantity of Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula dry dog food in 40 lb. bags because of melamine cross contamination. To date, no animal deaths have been reported.

This action is limited to Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula dry dog food in 40 lb. bags with production codes of NLR0404A2SL or NLR0404B2SL, “Best Before” Oct. 9, 2008. The recalled product was manufactured at the company’s Lathrop, Calif. facility and sold through retailers in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada. No other Nutra Nuggets products are affected.

The recalled product was manufactured at the same facility following production of other products that contained rice protein concentrate later found to be tainted with melamine, which is not an approved food substance. Pets who may have consumed the affected product should be monitored closely. Affected pets will usually drink a lot of water and will vomit within 24 hours after eating the food. Affected pets may exhibit the following symptoms, including but not limited to loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting. Consult your local veterinarian if your pet is exhibiting these symptoms.

Consumers who purchased Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula dry dog food in 40 lb. bags with production codes of NLR0404A2SL or NLR0404B2SL, “Best Before” Oct. 9, 2008, should stop using the product immediately and return unused portions to their retailer for a full refund. Consumers may also contact the Diamond Pet Foods Customer Information Center toll free at 1-866-214-6945 for further information. The Center, which is staffed by veterinarians, is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CDT.

 


Who would have thought this exasperating pet food contamination situation would STILL be dragging along TEN WEEKS later?! Here are some interesting articles covering: Menu Foods bullying of those filing claims against them, Seattle owners filing lawsuits, the response of web sites and blogs to the recall madness, the possibility of subpoenas being issued to the FDA, and the far reaching concern of the quality of exports from China.

Hope everyone had a safe Memorial Day!

Court: Menu Foods Harassed Pet Owners– USA Today-News10.net

“The pet food company that recalled 60 million cans of contaminated dog and cat food repeatedly made harassing phone calls to pet owners who had lawyers and said they didn’t want to talk, even after a judge ordered the firm to leave them alone, court records show.”

Seattle Pet Owners Part Of Class-Action Suit Over Tainted Food– SeattlePI.nwsource.com

“About 75 class-action lawsuits have been filed against Menu Foods around the country, said Tom Baisch, an attorney with the Seattle law firm Myers and Co. Baisch said his firm, along with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, has consulted with more than 500 people — many from the Seattle area — who believe they’re owed reparations.”

Pet Food Scandal Unleashes Once-Obscure Web Sites-BaltimoreSun.com

“The Internet has changed all the rules here in terms of mobilizing public opinion on important issues, and this pet-food contamination is a clear illustration,” Durbin said in a telephone interview from his Chicago office.”

House: FDA Unresponsive To Information About Pet Food Recall-NorthCountryGazette.org

“A Congressional committee has given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration until June 1 to produce requested records concerning drug and food safety in the United States or they will subpoena them.”

Menu Foods: Tainted Pet Food Raises A Bigger Concern-LawyersAndSettlements.com

“Now comes news on Friday that officials in Canada have intercepted a shipment of corn gluten contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid.”

This has to be one of my favorite lines from Michael Moore‘s 5/17/07 email I’m copying below, “There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don’t even need to see the one’s smirk or hear the other’s sneer to know who I am talking about.” Gee, ya think? 😉 Here’s my previous post on the topic. Best of luck in Cannes, Michael!

“Sicko” Is Completed and We’re Off to Cannes!

May 17, 2007

Friends,

It’s a wrap! My new film, “Sicko,” is all done and will have its world premiere this Saturday night at the Cannes Film Festival. As with “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” we are honored to have been chosen by this prestigious festival to screen our work there.

My intention was to keep “Sicko” under wraps and show it to virtually no one before its premiere in Cannes. That is what I have done and, as you may have noticed if you are a recipient of my infrequent Internet letters, I have been very silent about what I’ve been up to. In part, that’s because I was working very hard to complete the film. But my silence was also because I knew that the health care industry — an industry which makes up more than 15 percent of our GDP — was not going to like much of what they were going to see in this movie and I thought it best not to upset them any sooner than need be.

Well, going quietly to Cannes, I guess, was not to be. For some strange reason, on May 2nd the Bush administration initiated an action against me over how I obtained some of the content they believe is in my film. As none of them have actually seen the film (or so I hope!), they decided, unlike with “Fahrenheit 9/11,” not to wait until the film was out of the gate and too far down the road to begin their attack.

Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, launched an investigation of a trip I took to Cuba to film scenes for the movie. These scenes involve a group of 9/11 rescue workers who are suffering from illnesses obtained from working down at Ground Zero. They have received little or no help with their health care from the government. I do not want to give away what actually happens in the movie because I don’t want to spoil it for you (although I’m sure you’ll hear much about it after it unspools Saturday). Plus, our lawyers have advised me to say little at this point, as the film goes somewhere far scarier than “Cuba.” Rest assured of one thing: no laws were broken. All I’ve done is violate the modern-day rule of journalism that says, “ask no questions of those in power or your luncheon privileges will be revoked.”

This preemptive action taken by the Bush administration on the eve of the “Sicko” premiere in Cannes led our attorneys to fear for the safety of our film, noting that Secretary Paulson may try to claim that the content of the movie was obtained through a violation of the trade embargo that our country has against Cuba and the travel laws that prohibit average citizens of our free country from traveling to Cuba. (The law does not prohibit anyone from exercising their first amendment right of a free press and documentaries are protected works of journalism.)

I was floored when our lawyers told me this. “Are you saying they might actually confiscate our movie?” “Yes,” was the answer. “These days, anything is possible. Even if there is just a 20 percent chance the government would seize our movie before Cannes, does anyone want to take that risk?”

Certainly not. So there we were last week, spiriting a duplicate master negative out of the country just so no one from the government would take it from us. (Seriously, I can’t believe I just typed those words! Did I mention that I’m an American, and this is America and NO ONE should ever have to say they had to do such a thing?)

I mean, folks, I have just about had it. Investigating ME because I’m trying to help some 9/11 rescue workers our government has abandoned? Once again, up is down and black is white. There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don’t even need to see the one’s smirk or hear the other’s sneer to know who I am talking about.

But no, I’m the one who now has to hire lawyers and sneak my documentary out of the country just so people can see a friggin’ movie. I mean, it’s just a movie! What on earth could I have placed on celluloid that would require such a nonsensical action against me?

Ok. Scratch that.

Well, I’m on my way to Cannes right now, a copy of the movie in my bag. Don’t feel too bad for me, I’ll be in the south of France for a week! But then it’s back to the U.S. for a number of premieres and benefits and then, finally, a chance for all of you to see this film that I have made. Circle June 29th on your calendar because that’s when it opens in theaters everywhere across the country and Canada (for the rest of the world, it opens in the fall).

I can’t wait for you to see it.

Yours,

Michael Moore

P.S. I will write more about what happens from Cannes. Stay tuned on my website, MichaelMoore.com.

Limited time, so just a couple of quick items hitting the news today on the pet food contamination front.

Anyone else feel like the past several AGONIZING years of the Bush administration has been one continuous tweaking of a con artist shell game? Under shell #1 is ANY legitimate concern by Americans (and the rest of the world, too!) regarding anything from the mishandling of Iraq, to the shenanigans Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and crew have been doing in the Justice Department. As soon as there is building interest in shell #1, Bush and crew attempt to throw the unsuspecting victims of this con game off with some fancy sleight of hand, and this time it’s Michael Moore’s trip to Cuba with 10 first responders to the WTC on 9/11, who are now suffering debilitating medical ailments. (Keep in mind the trip was taken in March, yet the letter from the government to Mr. Moore telling him of the investigation was dated May 2, 2007, a mere few weeks prior to his new movie, SiCKO being released…hmmm.) I’m sure shell #3 will probably be some “heightened terror alert” since we haven’t seen that lovely rainbow colored item pulled out of the mothballs for awhile. And it’s always been a favorite of this administration, since it’s so easy to pull the strings of the marionette public and create an artificial sense of fear and panic at the drop of a hat.

Let it be known at the outset that I am a fan of Michael Moore, and applaud what he has done to bring issues to light and have everyone engage in discussions pertinent to the welfare of ALL Americans (health care, our government and its falsehoods, outsourcing, gun control, and many more). That being said, I may not always agree with every move he makes (heck, I don’t even agree with every move I make! ;)), but this is a man who I strongly believe has the best interests of America at heart. Personally I’m pretty fed up with either being chastised or made to feel “unpatriotic” just because I strongly disagree with just about everything the current administration has done, so I can only imagine how Michael Moore must feel having such an enormous spotlight on him 24/7. And yes, I realize he brings it upon himself, but that just makes me appreciate his dedication even more. To put yourself up to the possibility of such scrutiny, ridicule, and hate, shows devotion and dedication to your beliefs. And yes, I even feel that way about those with whom I wholeheartedly disagree. Have strength in your convictions, but also show respect for differing viewpoints. Fine line, I know, but one we all really do need to try and walk–sometimes unsuccessfully.

Another reason I’m a fan of Michael’s is because of what he did for my alma mater, California State University, San Marcos. In October of 2003, Mr. Moore was scheduled to be a speaker at one of our CSUSM Arts & Lectures Series events. Due to the horrific wildfires in our area at the time, the engagement was postponed. By the time it was rescheduled it was close to the 2004 election and Karen Haynes, President of CSUSM, refused to allow Michael to speak saying that there wouldn’t be adequate time to schedule another speaker with an opposing political viewpoint. Thankfully students and community members would NOT let President Haynes control everything, and raised enough funds to have Mr. Moore speak at an off-campus area (Del Mar Fairgrounds) to approximately 10,000 of us (yes, I was there! ;)). Here is one story about the entire flap and subsequent venue change.

While hearing Michael speak in front of so many people with such fervor and determination was exciting enough, it was actually a HUGE surprise he shared with us all that really made the evening spectacular. (And mind you, this is an evening that had Joan Baez as a surprise performer!) The fantastic news that Michael shared with the crowd was that he was creating a “Freedom of Speech” scholarship at CSUSM to give $5,000 to a student who stood up to the administration the most. Due to the number of applicants Mr. Moore found outstanding, he ended up increasing the scholarship amount to $15,000, which was divided between 6 students. Here is a news article about his appearance that night and the impending scholarship.

And yes, I own countless works from Mr. Moore: “Stupid White Men” and “Dude, Where’s My Country?” in my reading library, along with “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Roger & Me”, “Bowling for Columbine”, and “The Big One” in my media library, and looking forward to catching Michael’s upcoming flick, “Sicko“, as soon as it hits theaters this June 29th. And yes, I realize not everyone shares my opinion of Mr. Moore, but it’s my blog and my opinion, AND I truly believe there are far more folks who agree with Mr. Moore than disagree with him. 🙂 It will be interesting to see how this Michael Moore/Cuba/Bush administration story plays out. Heck, even an online betting site is wagering odds on how far this situation will go!

I’ll leave you with Michael’s open letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson. Take care, folks.

Friday, May 11th, 2007
Open Letter from Michael Moore to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

Secretary Henry Paulson
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20220

May 11, 2007

Secretary Paulson,

I am contacting you in light of the document sent to me dated May 2, 2007, which was received May 7, 2007 indicating that an investigation has been opened up with regards to a trip I took to Cuba with a group of Americans that included some 9/11 heroes in March 2007 related to the filming of my next documentary, on the American Healthcare system. SiCKO, which will be seen in theaters this summer, will expose the health care industry’s greed and control over America’s political processes.

I believe that the decision to conduct this investigation represents the latest example of the Bush Administration abusing the federal government for raw, crass, political purposes. Over the last seven years of the Bush Presidency, we have seen the abuse of government to promote a political agenda designed to benefit the conservative base of the Republican Party, special interests and major financial contributors. From holding secret meetings for the energy industry to re-writing science findings to cooking the books on intelligence to the firing of U.S. Attorneys, this Administration has shown time and time again that it will abuse its power and authority.

There are a number of specific facts that have led me to conclude that politics could very well be driving this Bush Administration investigation of me and my film.

First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States.

Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, having contributed over $13 million to the Bush presidential campaign in 2004 and more than $180 million to Republican candidates over the last two campaign cycles. It is well documented that the industry is very concerned about the impact of SiCKO. They have threatened their employees if they talk to me. They have set up special internal crises lines should I show up at their headquarters. Employees have been warned about the consequences of participating in SiCKO. Despite this, some employees, at great risk to themselves, have gone on camera to tell the American people the truth about the health care industry. I can understand why that industry’s main recipient of its contributions — President Bush — would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience.

And, third, this investigation is being opened in the wake of misleading attacks on the purpose of the Cuba trip from a possible leading Republican candidate for president, Fred Thompson, a major conservative newspaper, The New York Post, and various right wing blogs.

For five and a half years, the Bush administration has ignored and neglected the heroes of the 9/11 community. These heroic first responders have been left to fend for themselves, without coverage and without care. I understand why the Bush administration is coming after me — I have tried to help the very people they refuse to help, but until George W. Bush outlaws helping your fellow man, I have broken no laws and I have nothing to hide.

I demand that the Bush Administration immediately end this investigation and spend its time and resources trying to support some of the real heroes of 9/11.

Sincerely,

Michael Moore

Unfortunately the news doesn’t seem as if it will ever improve, and instead only becomes more concerning as tainted products are finding their way into the human food supply more often. Sad that so many beloved pets had to die in order for us all to have a huge “wake-up call” on the incredible inadequacy and incompetency of food regulation in our country and others. Also, time constraints for the next month will pretty much prohibit me from a lot of posting, but I will do my best to continue getting you at least some news headlines and links on the pet food contamination debacle. What a shame we’re still unsure of so much about all of this EIGHT WEEKS INTO IT!

CHINA

U.S. melamine probers find empty Chinese factories-ReutersAlertNet

“U.S. investigators found shuttered factories when they arrived at the Chinese food processors blamed for putting the chemical melamine into vegetable proteins shipped to America, officials said on Thursday.”

China detains managers in tainted pet food case-Chron.com

“China has long suffered adverse publicity tied to its notoriously lax enforcement of food and drug safety…China’s government body responsible for overseeing food safety said it had detained an unspecified number of managers from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. and Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd.”

China to start mobile food testing-(AP)-SFGate.com

“The business hub of Shanghai will soon employ mobile testing units that officials say can check the safety of most food within 30 minutes, as fears grew at home and abroad over contaminated Chinese products ranging from cough syrup to pet food.”

CONTAMINATION SPREADS

Fish Hatcheries Got Contaminated Feed-Forbes.com

“Fish feed made with a contaminated Chinese ingredient was distributed to about 120 fish hatcheries and farms, roughly split between the United States and Canada, officials said Thursday.

Chicago-area company implicated in tainted pet food scandal: Cereal Byproducts. Co. of Mt. Prospect issued recall-Chicago Tribune (free subscription)

“Cereal Byproducts Co., which has plants in five states and a headquarters in Mt. Prospect, issued a recall for the rice protein products on May 4. The company’s products went to three pet food manufacturers… Word that yet another company has been implicated two months into the pet food contamination scare suggests that the scope of the problem is expanding, despite an ongoing FDA investigation.

FDA/USDA

Melamine update: Nevermind, it wasn’t wheat gluten-USNews.com

“Government officials say they have been wrong about calling the melamine-contaminated product imported by two Chinese firms “wheat gluten” and “rice protein concentrate.” These products were incorrectly labeled and were, in fact, wheat flour. The FDA is investigating the possibility that these products were intentionally mislabeled by the Chinese companies.”

Transcript of FDA-USDA update on Adulterated Animal Feed (5/10)-USDA.gov

“MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. I am Rob Ali from the FDA’s Media Relations Shop. And thanks, and welcome to this briefing this afternoon on the melamine investigation. We have speakers today from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We also have several FDA officials here and officials from USDA and Customs and Border Protection available to answer any questions later on in this briefing.”

FDA/USDA Joint News Release: Scientists Conclude Very Low Risk to Humans from Food Containing Melamine USDA Releases Some Swine and Poultry for Processing-FDA.gov

“In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that pet food was contaminated by wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that contained melamine and its compounds. Subsequently, scraps of contaminated pet food that contained only low levels of melamine were distributed to farms in a limited number of states and added to the feed consumed by swine and poultry. These scraps constituted only a small percentage of the farm animal rations. In addition, melamine is known to be excreted in animal urine. When exposure levels are much higher, as was the case with cats and dogs, the melamine and its compounds appear to cause the formation of crystals in the kidney systems, resulting in kidney damage. There was no indication of kidney damage in hogs. Both hogs and chickens known to have been fed contaminated feed appear to be healthy.”

MENU FOODS

Menu Foods delays filing of financial statements– Reuters.com

“The pet food maker — at the center of a massive recall due to tainted wheat gluten imported from China — said the delay was primarily due to ongoing discussions with lenders over additional financing for, among other things, product recalls.”

SCIENCE LESSON

How two innocuous compounds combined to kill pets-WashingtonPost.com

“Scientists seeking the chemical culprits in the widening pet food scare have come across some unusual chemistry that may help them understand how two largely nontoxic compounds ended up killing an unknown number of cats and dogs.”

Only time for a smattering of news and info right now. Have a good Friday night!

“With Menu Foods yesterday greatly expanding its recall of pet food products due to new evidence of cross-contamination, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today warned pet parents that this crisis is far from over, and urged them to watch their pets closely for any symptoms that may be related to the recall.

“The investigation into contaminated pet food has focused on melamine contamination of ingredients imported from China, such as wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate and corn gluten (imported into South Africa). It is now believed that cyanuric acid, as well as melamine, has been found in urine samples from animals that died.”

“Recent tests revealed that when melamine is combined with cyanuric acid, the same distinctive crystals form in cat urine as in the urine of pets who became ill or died from the tainted food.”

“The exporter of a contaminated pet food ingredient blamed for the deaths of dogs and cats in the United States may have avoided Chinese export inspections by labeling it a nonfood product, a U.S. government report says.”

“This is David Acheson, assistant commissioner for Food Protection at FDA. What I would propose to do on this call is to go over some old ground to make sure that we are all on the same page, and I’m going to cover five principal topics. The first is just to reiterate the whole story around wheat gluten and how some of it can wind up in pet food and some in human food. The second is to briefly mention an expanded recall from Menu Foods. The third is to discuss the human health impact of the findings in the investigations to date. The next is to discuss our current proactive strategy looking at both imports and domestics. And the third point is just to mention where we are on the investigation in China. So that’s five points that I propose to cover.”

_______________________________________________

Recall — Firm Press Release

FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.

SmartPak Canine Voluntarily Recalls LiveSmart Adult Lamb and Brown Rice Formula

Contact:
Paal Gisholt 774 773-1100
Consumers:
800 461-8898

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Plymouth, MA – May 3, 2007 –On 5/02/07, SmartPak Canine executed a voluntary nationwide recall on all lots of LiveSmart Adult Lamb and Brown Rice food. This product tested positive for presence of melamine in a test received earlier in the day.

The LiveSmart Lamb formula is only sold in portion-paks shipped straight to the consumer’s home each month, so there are no bags of potentially affected product on store shelves anywhere in the country. The focus of the recall has been informing affected customers via telephone, email, and letter. Ninety-nine percent of the roughly 220 pet owners feeding LiveSmart Adult Lamb via its portion pak pet food subscription service were contacted by live phone contact or message, and/or email. The company has had live contact with the majority of affected pet owners, and is continuing an aggressive outreach program to ensure that the notification has been received. To reduce likelihood of pet owners continuing to feed the food, replacement product is being shipped to affected customers free of charge.

At the time the recall was initiated, there had not been any ill effects reported in dogs. Through the efforts to reach out to all customers, the company has become aware of two instances of vomiting and learned that a 10 year old Rottweiler had passed away two weeks previous to the recall. These reports have been forwarded to FDA and are being investigated by the company’s Medical Director to determine if they are connected with the LiveSmart Adult Lamb formula. The company has asked that any dogs showing signs of kidney illness (loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst) be seen by their veterinarian.

The company is presently investigating the source of the contamination in conjunction with its contract manufacturer, Chenango Valley Pet Food. The LiveSmart Adult Lamb formula does not contain rice protein concentrate nor wheat gluten. All the meat and vegetable matter, with the exception of New Zealand lamb, is of US origin. It appears that the product may have been cross contaminated at the Chenango plant by a prior batch of food unassociated with SmartPak that contained an ingredient that had been contaminated with melamine.

SmartPak has also tested each of its other four brands for melamine contamination, and there was no melamine detected in the samples of these foods. Those brands are LiveSmart Adult Chicken and Brown Rice, LiveSmart Senior Chicken and Brown Rice, and LiveSmart Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice.

Questions regarding this recall may be directed to Paal Gisholt, the company’s president and CEO, who may be reached at 800 461-8898. Affected customers are asked to call the company’s toll free customer service number at 800 461-8898, which is available 24/7. Additional information will be reported on the company’s website as it becomes available.

Consumers with questions about the pet food they use should visit the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov.

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Someone might need to get the paddles for me because I think my heart stopped the minute I realized I was actually applauding something George W. Bush had done. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, so (deep breath) kudos to you, GWB, for doing something for the animals. Now can you get the government (FDA and USDA for a start) to get things straightened out with our pet food supply and our human food supply? Of course my “to do” list for you is much longer, but we’ll start there–for now.

Click HERE to read the press release from the Humane Society of the United States regarding the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act being signed into law.

The following is from the HSUS web site (shout out to my Senator, Dianne Feinstein, for being one of the Senators who introduced the new law into the Senate! 🙂):

May 3, 2007


 
 

Today, President Bush signed into law a bill that will help law enforcement rid the United States of dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal fighting.

Dogfighting and cockfighting crimes are rampant in the United States, with individuals arrested every week in scores of locations under state laws. The vast underground networks generate pervasive animal cruelty, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, public corruption and even violence and murder. The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which passed Congress with large bi-partisan support, will give law enforcement a stronger tool to crack down on this illegal activity.

“Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,” states Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which has led the national battle against animal fighting and been the primary advocate for this federal legislation.

The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.

Cockfighting is outlawed in every state except Louisiana, although there is mounting pressure in that state to ban the practice. Many states still have misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting. The federal law slaps felony penalties on interstate cockfighting trafficking, and this should provide an enormous deterrent for the tens of thousands of people involved in this criminal industry.

The law will have a devastating impact on major breeders of fighting animals, who depend on customers from all over the United States and abroad. Dog kennels rely on transporting their fighting dogs across state lines and across the world to customers. The new law should substantially curb the transport of fighting animals across state and U.S. borders. The HSUS is already seeing some major breeders of fighting roosters cutting back on production.

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will help end the export of fighting animals to other countries. Selling roosters to customers in the Philippines and other nations can be lucrative for American cockfighters. The new law puts increased pressure on the airlines to stop shipping roosters to cockfighting hot spots.

The new law had been introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) in the House, and by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate. It had also been endorsed by more than 500 groups, including all major humane organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and more than 400 local law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states.

George W. Bush’s veto has elicited some powerful statements from six US military leaders. You know, the ones that actually SERVED in the military. The ones that have a clue what is going on in Iraq. Service members who are the exact opposite of our “Commander-In-Chief”.

From the blog of our Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

Military Leaders Against the President’s Veto

May 2nd, 2007 by Karina

“With this veto, the president has doomed us to repeating a terrible history. President Bush’s current position is hauntingly reminiscent of March 1968 in Vietnam. At that time, both the Secretary of Defense and the President had recognized that the war could not be won militarily – just as our military commanders in Iraq have acknowledged. But not wanting to be tainted with losing a war, President Johnson authorized a surge of 25,000 troops. At that point, there had been 24,000 U.S. troops killed in action. Five years later, when the withdrawal of U.S. troops was complete, we had suffered 34,000 additional combat deaths.”
– Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA, Ret.

“By vetoing this bill and failing to initiate an immediate and phased withdrawal, the President has effectively gone AWOL, deserting his duty post, leaving American forces with an impossible mission, suffering wholly unnecessary casualties.”
– Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, USA, Ret.

“The rhetoric of Congress not supporting our troops is pure ‘hogwash’. The real non support of our troops is the Presidential Veto. Vetoing this Bill sends a message to our troops, that the President will fund them to fight but is not concerned about returning them to their families.”
– Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, USANG, Ret.

“The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration.”
– Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.

“This administration and the previously Republican controlled legislature have been the most caustic agents against America’s Armed Forces in memory. Less than a year ago, the Republicans imposed great hardship on the Army and Marine Corps by their failure to pass a necessary funding language. This time, the President of the United States is holding our Soldiers hostage to his ego. More than ever apparent, only the Army and the Marine Corps are at war – alone, without their President’s support.”
– Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA, Ret.

“Almost 5 years ago, Congress trusted the President enough to give him the power to transform Iraq. Bush violated that trust and deceived us with a misuse of force. Today, the President violated the trust of the American people, our troops, and their families by vetoing this bill and not choosing to do what is right. He has let us down.”
– Brigadier General John Johns, USA, Ret.

Check these out:

VERY powerful video put to John Fogerty’s “Deja Vu”:

Totally disturbing. Totally disgusting. And who knows how long this has been going on. Read on–if you dare.

Will China’s Practices Hurt Food Sales?: Melamine May Be Banned, But Rampant Pollution And Lack Of Inspections Could Deter Buyers-CBS Evening News-CBSNews.com (Accompanying video)

“Melamine is a cheap way to fake high protein levels in wheat gluten. The Chinese government — moving to protect its multibillion-dollar exports of fruits and vegetables — has now banned melamine and shuttered plants that may have used it.”

Chinese businesses say animal feed commonly laced with mildly toxic melamine-(AP)-Canada.com

“The mildly toxic chemical melamine is commonly added to animal feed in China, a manager of a feed company and one of the chemical’s producers said Monday, a process that boosts the feed’s sales value but risks introducing the chemical into meat eaten by humans.”

Melamine in big demand in China-News24.com

“Melamine is so popular as a protein lookalike feed additive that at least one Chinese manufacturer is believed to have torn down buildings to get to leftover scraps, industry officials said on Monday”

A look at the additive Melamine-(AP)-Chron.com

“Melamine can serve as a fertilizer, since it’s high in nitrogen. Typically in the U.S., however, Kapin said melamine is used to make melamine resin, a polymer similar to plastic and used to coat countertops or cabinets because it is hard and largely heat resistant.”

Poultry farms in Indiana given contaminated feed-Reuters.com

“The U.S. government said on Monday 38 poultry farms in Indiana were given contaminated feed in early February containing melamine, with some of the chickens likely to have entered the food supply.”

Here is the FDA news release from today (4/30/07) tracing the tainted animal feed to poultry farms:

FDA News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2007

Media Inquiries:
FDA Media Relations Office, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:
888-SAFEFOOD

Joint Update: FDA/USDA Trace Adulterated Animal Feed to Poultry

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2007 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have learned that byproducts from pet food manufactured with contaminated wheat gluten imported from China have been used in chicken feed on some farms in the state of Indiana. This information came to light as part of the continuing investigation into imported rice protein concentrate and wheat gluten that have been found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds.

At this time, the investigation indicates that approximately 30 broiler poultry farms and eight breeder poultry farms in Indiana received contaminated feed in early February and fed it to poultry within days of receiving it. All of the broilers believed to have been fed contaminated product have since been processed. The breeders that were fed the contaminated product are under voluntary hold by the flock owners.

As with exposure from hogs fed contaminated pet food and for similar reasons related to the dilution of the contamination, FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating chicken fed the contaminated product is very low. Because there is no evidence of harm to humans associated with consumption of chicken fed the contaminated product, no recall of poultry products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.

Because the poultry being held have been fed adulterated products, USDA cannot knowingly approve products derived from these poultry for human consumption. USDA is offering to compensate producers who euthanize this poultry. USDA is also offering the expertise and assistance of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) personnel in carrying out depopulation activities, to ensure adherence to Federal and State laws.

FDA and USDA anticipate that as the investigation continues additional farms will likely be identified that received contaminated feed. As indicated in previous updates, FDA and USDA have also traced contaminated feed to swine farms in several states. The same procedures are being followed in relation to both swine and poultry; animals are being quarantined by state order or voluntarily held by the owners and USDA is offering compensation for depopulation and disposal of both swine and poultry that have been fed contaminated products.

USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full, comprehensive examination to protect the nation’s food supply and will provide updates as new information is confirmed.

Government: Hogs That Ate Contaminated Pet Food Will Not Be Recalled-(AP)-FoxNews.com (yes, I actually am using a Fox item…shocking! 😉)

“The government said last week that 345 of 6,000 hogs that may have the food are believed to have been placed on the path to slaughter, but that almost all are still on farms in California, New York and South Carolina.”

Here is the FDA news release (4/28/07) regarding the hogs who were fed melamine-tainted feed:

FDA News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2007

Media Inquiries:
FDA Press Office: 301-827-6242
USDA Press Office: 202-720-4623
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA

Joint Update: FDA/USDA Update on Tainted Animal Feed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue their investigation of imported rice protein concentrate which has been found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds. Based on information currently available, FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating pork from swine fed the contaminated product would be very low. The agencies are taking certain actions out of an abundance of caution. As announced on April 26, swine known to have been fed adulterated (contaminated) product will not be approved to enter the food supply. (Because the animal feed in question was adulterated, USDA cannot rule out the possibility that food produced from animals fed this product could also be adulterated. USDA cannot approve potentially adulterated meat.) This update provides additional information regarding the ongoing investigation.

As reported on April 22 by FDA, the Agency determined that rice protein concentrate imported from China was contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds. The product was imported by Wilbur-Ellis, an importer and distributor of agricultural products. Although the company began importing product from China in August 2006, the company did not become aware of the contamination until April 2007. As part of the ongoing investigation, FDA has determined the rice protein was used in the production of pet food and a portion of the pet food was used to produce animal feed. The ongoing investigation is tracing products distributed since August 2006 by Wilbur-Ellis throughout the distribution chain.

At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.

The assessment that, if there were to be harm to human health, it would be very low, is based on a number of factors, including the dilution of the contaminating melamine and melamine-related compounds from the original rice protein concentrate as it moves through the food system. First it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet. Neither FDA nor USDA has uncovered any evidence of harm to the swine from the contaminated feed. In addition to the dilutional factor and the lack of evidence of illnesses in the swine fed the waste pet food, we are not aware of any human illness that has occurred from exposure to melamine or its by-products. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention systems would have limited ability to detect subtle problems due to melamine and melamine-related compounds, no problems have been detected to date. To further evaluate any potential harm to humans, the FDA is developing and implementing further tests and risk assessments based on the toxicity of the compounds and how much of the compounds consumers could be expected to actually consume.

The ongoing investigation and product reconciliation and testing have led to certain farms. We expect the investigation will continue to find more places where product may have been distributed. As of April 26, sites in the following states are believed to have received and used contaminated product: California, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah. As we confirm additional sites that have received and used contaminated product, we will provide additional updates.

USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full, comprehensive examination to protect the nation’s food supply and will provide updates as new information is confirmed.

***Latest pet food recall “firm press releases” from the FDA***

Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd Issues Nationwide Recall of “Blue” Canned Dog Foods, “Blue Spa Select” Canned Cat Foods and “Blue” Dog Treats Manufactured At American Nutrition, Inc.

Sierra Pet Products, LLC Issues Nationwide Recall of “Harmony Farms” Canned Dog Foods, “Harmony Farms” Canned Cat Foods and “Harmony Farms” Dog Treats Manufactured at American Nutrition, Inc.

Sniffin’ out the info

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