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Friday, June 20, 2008


FDA sued for failure to act on risky painkiller

Thu Jun 19, 4:03 PM ET

A prescription painkiller sold under such names as Darvon and Darvocet is too risky to stay on the market, a consumer advocacy group argued Thursday in suing the Food and Drug Administration.

Public Citizen petitioned the FDA two years ago seeking a ban on the drug, calling it no more effective than safer painkillers and citing the accidental deaths of more than 2,000 people since 1981.

Thursday, Public Citizen filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington arguing that FDA has violated the law by not ruling on its petition within the required six months.

At issue is a narcotic known chemically as propoxyphene, sold by numerous generic manufacturers as well as under the brand names Darvon and Darvocet.

It is considered a relatively weak painkiller. Public Citizen's Dr. Sidney Wolfe cited a recent review of research studies that found ibuprofen worked better for most kinds of pain.

Yet propoxyphene is addictive, and even when used properly it can cause slowed heartbeat and other serious cardiac side effects, the lawsuit says. In addition, Wolfe said it has been deemed inappropriate for the elderly because of other side effects, include sedation and confusion, that increase risk of falls and fractures.

British health authorities ordered the drug phased out there in 2005, saying at the time that it was associated with a few hundred accidental deaths and suicides a year.

In the U.S., propoxyphene remains one of the most widely prescribed generic drugs, with 22 million prescriptions filled last year.

Neither FDA nor one of the drug's main manufacturers immediately responded to requests for comment.



Mind Games

I'm adding a new link for those of us who love mental stimulation!


In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts

The following article appears on the on-line version of The New York Times. Nuclear Energy is one of the most wasteful and dangerous forms of energy production on the planet. We saw how many nuclear power plants had to be "contained" following China's earthquake this year and how many others are affected in other countries as well. We see that the USA government has actually sent fissionable nuclear materials via ordinary truck and rail carriers through some of the most populous regions of the country. We know about Chernobyl and Three-Mile-Island. We know that producing electricity via nuclear fission is like trying to shoot a mosquito with an elephant gun. We also know that metal fatigue from exposure to radiation is much greater than originally anticipated and that the dangers are far greater than the governments and utilities industries want us to know. Add to that the costs (government subsidies to outweigh the high cost of production) and the problem STILL UNSOLVED of what to do with all that radioactive waste!

McCain Sets Goal of 45 New Nuclear Reactors by 2030


Published: June 19, 2008

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Senator John McCain said Wednesday that he wanted 45 new nuclear reactors built in the United States by 2030, a course he called "as difficult as it is necessary."

In his third straight day of campaign speechmaking about energy and $4-a-gallon gasoline, Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, told the crowd at a town-hall-style meeting at Missouri State University that he saw nuclear power as a clean, safe alternative to traditional sources of energy that emit greenhouse gases. He said his ultimate goal was 100 new nuclear plants.

Mr. McCain has long promoted nuclear reactors, but Wednesday was the first time that he specified the number of plants he envisioned.

Currently there are 104 reactors in the country supplying some 20 percent of electricity consumed. No new nuclear power plant has been built in the United States since the 1970s.

"China, Russia and India are all planning to build more than a hundred new power plants among them in the coming decades," Mr. McCain said in this pocket of Missouri that is reliably Republican. "Across Europe there are 197 reactors in operation, and nations including France and Belgium derive more than half their electricity from nuclear power. And if all of these nations can find a way to carry out great goals in energy policy, then I assure you that the United States is more than equal to the challenge."

Although there has been a shift of opinion in the industry and among some environmentalists toward more nuclear power — it is clean and far safer than at the time of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 — most environmentalists are skeptical of the latest claims by its advocates. They also say that no utility will put its own financing into building a plant unless the federal government lavishly subsidizes it.

"Wall Street won't invest in these plants because they are too expensive and unreliable, so Senator McCain wants to shower the nuclear industry with billions of dollars of taxpayer handouts," said Daniel J. Weiss, who heads the global warming program at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal research group.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Mr. McCain's chief domestic policy adviser, said Mr. McCain had arrived at the goal of 45 as consistent with his desire to expand nuclear power, "but not so large as to be infeasible given permitting and construction times."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Doodles Deluxe

Learning to use this new art tool is half the fun! Trial and error makes pretty designs.

Try it here.

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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