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My father Don Roettger on the right, looked quite like a member of the Kennedy clan.
As an AD MAN (MADMAN), for Wilson Sporting Goods and Meat Packing he is seen here at a business convention in the early 60s.

John Kennedy look alike, Don Roettger

John Kennedy Look Alike Don Roettger AdMan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John and Jackie represented the best and brightest of our parents generation. When he was so suddenly killed on what seemed to be a wonderful day full of good cheer in Dallas, our parents dream was dashed. Their generation went from optimism to pessimism overnight and we would never see or feel that kind of optimism again. We were the children unconsciously witnessing this change. Actually, more than witnesses, a light also went out of our lives, as our parents and their generation fell into cynicism. No wonder our psyches rebelled under the corrupt statis quo that had killed our parents dreams, JFK, MLK, Robert Kennedy. The brightest lights of the generation. Thus our generation came to our rebellion of youthful idealism for peace and love in the world as if we were the only ones left to carry that torch he and they held against the darkness. Our youthful, idealistic, naive attempt for justice and righteousness within a dark and cynical world, in reaction to our parent’s shattered dreams.

My Dad looked a lot like a Kennedy. My parents were Democrats. At the time of John Kennedy I felt genuinely proud to be an American. JFK was smart, bright, and truly wanted the best for America. He held off nuclear war from the hawks on both sides of the cold war. He inspirationally led space exploration. He started the peace corps. Although a proponent of peace and negotiation, he was schooled in the ways of power and political power. When I look at Kennedy I see a powerful, almost spiritual, bright force with a very human vulnerability.

An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records that was released today by HealthGrades, the healthcare quality company.

In 2009, drugs exceeded the amount of traffic-related deaths, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide. According to information provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the very pharmaceuticals that are prescribed to treat life-endangering conditions are now ending lives.

3 Win Joint Nobel Prize in Medicine – NYTimes.com.

More evidence of the importance and benefits of good assimilable protein to the immune system.

 

3 Win Joint Nobel Prize in Medicine

The Lasker Foundation; UC Berkeley; Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

From left: James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof.

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Three Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Monday for discovering the machinery that regulates how cells transport major molecules in a cargo system that delivers them to the right place at the right time in cells.

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The Karolinska Institute in Stockholmannounced the winners: James E. Rothman of Yale University; Randy W. Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley; and Dr. Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University.

The molecules are moved around cells in small packages called vesicles, and each scientist discovered different facets that are needed to ensure that the right cargo is shipped to the correct destination at precisely the right time.

Their research solved the mystery of how cells organize their transport system, the Karolinska committee said. Dr. Schekman discovered a set of genes that were required for vesicle traffic. Dr. Rothman unraveled protein machinery that allows vesicles to fuse with their targets to permit transfer of cargo. Dr. Südhof revealed how signals instruct vesicles to release their cargo with precision.

The tiny vesicles, which have a covering known as membranes, shuttle the cargo between different compartments or fuse with the membrane. The transport system activates nerves. It also controls the release of hormones.

Disturbances in this exquisitely precise control system cause serious damage that, in turn, can contribute to conditions like neurological diseases, diabetes and immunological disorders.

Dr. Schekman, 65, who was born in St. Paul, used yeast cells as a model system when he began his research in the 1970s. He found that vesicles piled up in parts of the cell and that the cause was genetic. He went on to identify three classes of genes that control different facets of the cell’s transport system. Dr. Schekman studied at the University of California in Los Angeles and at Stanford University, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1974.

In 1976, he joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he is currently professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Dr. Schekman is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Dr. Rothman, 63, who was born in Haverhill, Mass., studied vesicle transport in mammalian cells in the 1980s and 1990s. He discovered that a protein complex allows vesicles to dock and fuse with their target membranes. In the fusion process, proteins on the vesicles and target membranes bind to each other like the two sides of a zipper. The fact that there are many such proteins and that they bind only in specific combinations ensures that cargo is delivered to a precise location.

The same principle operates inside the cell and when a vesicle binds to the cell’s outer membrane to release its contents. Dr. Rothman received a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1976, was a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and moved in 1978 to Stanford University, where he started his research on the vesicles of the cell. Dr. Rothman has also worked at Princeton University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute and Columbia University.

In 2008, he joined the faculty of Yale University where he is currently professor and chairman in the Department of Cell Biology. Some of the genes Dr. Schekman discovered in yeast coded for proteins correspond to those Dr. Rothman identified in mammals. Collectively, they mapped critical components of the cell´s transport machinery.

Dr. Südhof, 57, who was born in Göttingen, Germany, studied neurotransmission, the process by which nerve cells communicate with other cells in the brain. At the time he set out to explore the field 25 years ago, much of it was virgin scientific territory. Researchers had not identified a single protein in the neurotransmission process.

Dr. Südhof helped transform what had been a rough outline into a number of molecular activities to provide insights into the elaborate mechanisms at the crux of neurological activities, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. He did so by systematically identifying, purifying and analyzing proteins that can rapidly release chemicals that underlie the brain’s activities. The transmission process can take less than a thousandth of a second.

Dr. Südhof studied at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, where he received a medical degree in 1982 and a doctorate in neurochemistry the same year. In 1983, he moved to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Südhof, who has American citizenship, became an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1991 and was appointed professor of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford University in 2008.

All three scientists have won other awards, including the Lasker Prize, for their research.

Europe Bans Bee-Harming Pesticides; US Keeps Spraying

—By Tom Philpott| Fri May. 3, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

Darios/Shutterstock

On Monday, the European Commission voted to place a two-year moratorium onmost uses of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are a widely used class of chemicals suspected of contributing to a severe global decline in honeybee health.

In the wake of Europe’s decisive action, the US Environmental Protection Agency dithered. Well, it did release a joint report with the US Department of Agriculture on Thursday, generated from a “National Honey Bee Health Stakeholder Conference” the two agencies held last fall. The report fingered no single culprit behind colony collapse disorder, the name for the steep annual bee die-offs that have been stumping beekeepers since 2006. Instead, it pointed to a “complex set of stressors and pathogens,” including poor nutrition (mainly from loss of flowering weeds due to increased herbicide use), viruses, gut parasites, and, yes, pesticides. But it includes a summary of a presentation by USDA scientist Jeff Pettis noting that “several studies” have shown that low-level exposure to neonics make bees more vulnerable to the common gut parasite Nosema. (Pettis himself is the coauthor of one of those studies.)

Yet, as Natural Resources Defense Council senior scientist Jennifer Sass put it in a Thursday blog post, the joint EPA/USDA report limits itself to “recommendations about best management practices and technical advancements for applying pesticides to reduce dust,” while avoiding “recommendations that would reduce the overall sales and profits for chemical makers.”

Nor does the report express much urgency; it promises an “action plan [that] will outline major priorities to be addressed in the next 5-10 years.”

In the United States, neonic-treated crops cover a land mass equivalent to as much as twice the size of California.

Meanwhile, the European Commission’s decisive action came amid what the Guardian called a “fierce behind-the-scenes campaign” to stop it from Syngenta and Bayer, the Europe-based chemical giants that market them. The move was prompted by a January report by the European Food Safety Authority, which identified “high acute risks” for bees from exposure to neonic-treated crops like corn and sunflower. And studies from independent researchers implicating neonics in declining bee health have mounted.

Even before the decision, France, Italy, Slovenia, and Bayer’s home country, Germany, had all suspend use of the chemicals pending more research on bee health. Now neonics will face severe restriction in all 27 European Union countries for two-year period starting December 1, 2013, during which time the commission will continue its assessment of their impact.

The move trains a harsh light on the EPA, which approved the chemicals based on what its own scientists have called flawed research and is currently reviewing them in light of the threat to bees and other pollinators. Earlier this month, an agency spokesperson told CBS News that the review would take five years—meaning that they’ll continue to be used widely on farmland in the US during that period. As I reported a while back, neonic-treated crops cover between 150 million to 200 million acres of farmland in the US each year—a land mass equivalent to as much as twice the size of California.

I contacted the EPA to ask whether the EC decision might speed the agency’s timeline on reassessing neonics and their threat to bees. The response, in an emailed statement: “At this time, the data available to the EPA do not support a moratorium.” The time frame for completing the reassessment remains in place, the statement added, with this caveat: “If at any time the EPA determines there are urgent human and/or environmental risks from pesticide exposures that require prompt attention, the agency will take appropriate regulatory action, regardless of the registration review status of that pesticide.”

via Europe Bans Bee-Harming Pesticides; US Keeps Spraying | Mother Jones.

Food Health Europe vs US

7 Dodgy Food Practices Banned in

Europe But Just Fine Here

—By Tom Philpott

Eiffel Tower: Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock, Spray can: Knumina Studios/Shutterstock, Skull:Arcady/Shutterstock,

Last week, the European Commission voted to place a two-year moratorium on most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides, on the suspicion that they’re contributing to the global crisis in honeybee health (a topic I’ve touched on hereherehere, and here). Since then, several people have asked me whether Europe’s move might inspire the US Environmental Protection Agencyto make a similar move—currently, neonics are widely used in several of our most prevalent crops, including corn, soy, cotton, and wheat.
The answer is no. As I reported recently, an agency press officer told me the EU move will have no bearing on the EPA’s own reviews of the pesticides, which aren’t scheduled for release until 2016 at the earliest.

All of which got me thinking about other food-related substances and practices that are banned in Europe but green-lighted here. Turns out there are lots. Aren’t you glad you don’t live under the Old World regulatory jackboot, where the authorities deny people’s freedom to quaff  atrazine-laced drinking water, etc., etc.? Let me know in comments if I’m missing any.
1. Atrazine
Why it’s a problem: A “potent endocrine disruptor,” Syngenta’s popular corn herbicide has been linked to a range of reproductive problems at extremely low doses in both amphibiansand humans, and it commonly leaches out of farm fields and into people’s drinking water.
What Europe did: Banned it in 2003.
US status: EPA: “Atrazine will begin registration review, EPA’s periodic reevaluation program for existing pesticides, in mid-2013.”

2. Arsenic in chicken, turkey, and pig feed
Why it’s a problem: Arsenic is beloved of industrial-scale livestock producers because it makes animals grow faster and turns their meat a rosy pink. It enters feed in organic form, which isn’t harmful to humans. Trouble is, in animals guts, it quickly goes inorganic, and thus becomes poisonous. Several studies, including one by the FDA, have found heightened levels of inorganic arsenic in supermarket chicken, and it also ends up in manure, where it can move into tap water. Fertilizing rice fields with arsenic-laced manure may be partially responsible for heightened arsenic levels in US rice. 
What Europe did: According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, arsenic-based compounds “were never approved as safe for animal feed in the European Union, Japan, and many other countries.”
US status: The drug giant Pfizer “voluntarily” stopped marketing the arsenical feed additive Roxarsone back in 2011. But there are still several arsenicals on the market. On May 1, a coalition of enviro groups including the Center for Food Safety, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit demanding that the FDA ban them from feed.

3. “Poultry litter” in cow feed
Why it’s a problem: You know how arsenic goes inorganic—and thus poisonous—in chickens’ guts? Consider that their arsenic-laced manure is then commonly used as a feed for cows. According to Consumers Union, the stuff “consists primarily of manure, feathers, spilled feed, and bedding material that accumulate on the floors of the buildings that house chickens and turkeys.” The “spilled feed” part is of special concern, because chickens are often fed “meat and bone meal from dead cattle,” CU reported, and that stuff can spill into the litter and be fed back to cows, raising mad cow disease concerns.
What Europe did: Banned all forms of animal protein, including chicken litter, in cow feed in 2001.
US status: The practice remains unrestricted. US cattle consume about 2 billion pounds of it annually, Consumers Union’s Michael Hansen told me last year.

4. Chlorine washes for poultry carcasses
Why it’s a problem: As the US chicken industry has sped up kill lines in recent years, it has resorted to heavier use of chlorine-based washes to “decrease microbial loads on carcasses,” the Washington Post recently reported, quoting a previously unreleased USDA document. As I’ve noted, the USDA is preparing to release new rules that would speed up kill lines still more as well as allow companies to douse every carcass that comes down the line with antimicrobial sprays, “whether they are contaminated or not.” According to the Post, poultry workers face a “range of ailments” to the practice, including “asthma and other severe respiratory problems, burns, rashes, irritated eyes, and sinus ulcers and other sinus problems.”
What Europe did: The EU not only bans the practice, but refuses to accept US poultry that has been treated with antimicrobial sprays.
US status: As stated above, the USDA is preparing to roll out new rules that will increase the practice.

5. Antibiotics as growth promoters on livestock farms
Why they’re a problem: Antibiotic use has surged on US animal farms in recent years—and now accounts for 80 percent of all antibiotic use. Meanwhile, meat sold in US supermarkets is rife with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What Europe did: In the EU, all antibiotics used in human medicines are banned on farms—and no antibiotics can be used on farms for “nonmedical purposes,” i.e., growth promotion.
US status: The FDA is floating new rules that would ban antibiotics as growth promoters—but the regulation would be voluntary.

6. Ractopomine and other pharmaceutical growth enhancers in animal feed
Why it’s a problem: Fed to an estimated 60 to 80 percent of US hogs, ractopomine makes animals grow fast while also staying lean. Unfortunately, it does so by mimicking stress hormones, making animals miserable. The excellent food safety reporter Helena Bottemiller looked at FDA documents and found that between its introduction in 1999 and 2011, the drug had killed 210,000 pigs—”more than any other animal drug on the market.” Pigs treated with it, she found, suffer from ailments ranging from hyperactivity and trembling to broken limbs and the inability to walk. (Beef cows are fed similar drugs, as are turkeys.) Traces of these pharmaceuticals routinely end up in our meat—and according to Bottemiller, their effects on humans are little-studied.
What Europe did: Europe not only bars its own producers from using ractopamine, it alsorefuses to allow imports of meat from animals treated with it—as do China and Russia.
US status: Rather than trying to rein in ractopamine use, the Obama administration is actively seeking to force Europe and other nations to accept our ractopamine-treated pork.

7. Gestation crates
Why it’s a problem: The sows that breed the hogs confined in US factory farms spend nearly their entire lives stuffed into crates “so small the animals can’t even turn around or take more than a step forward or backward,” the Humane Society of the United States reported. An undercover HSUS investigation of a sow facility run by pork giant Smithfield in 2010 found, among other horrors, this:

“The animals engaged in stereotypic behaviors such as biting the bars of crates, indicating poor well-being in the extreme confinement conditions. Some had bitten their bars so incessantly that blood from their mouths coated the fronts of their crates. The breeding pigs also suffered injuries from sharp crate protrusions and open pressure sores that developed from their unyielding confinement.”

What Europe did: Banned them, effective this year.
US status: Pork giants Smithfield, Cargill, and Hormel have pledged to phase them out; several fast-food chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Subway have promised to stop buying from suppliers who use the crates; and nine states have banned the practice, HSUSreported. But the practice remains widespread, and as industry flack Rick Berman recently put it, a large swath of the pork industry “has no plans to stop using standard sow housing.”

Food Democracy Now!

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we regret to inform you that late last night President Barack Obama signed H.R. 933, which contained the Monsanto Protection Act into law. This is an outrage that will not go unanswered.

While we are still waiting to hear from the administration all the final details, we understand at this time that Section 735, the Monsanto biotech rider, is intact.

President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act over the insistence of more than 250,000 Americans who signed an urgent letter asking that he use his executive authority to veto H.R. 933 and send it back to Congress to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the bill. Regretfully, President Obama failed to live up to his oath to protect the American people and our Constitution.

Now that Congress has passed and President Obama has signed into law, the Monsanto Protection Act, Food Democracy Now! urgently requests that the President issue an executive order to support the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We want to thank everyone who made tens of thousands of calls to Congress and the White House and we understand that people are upset, but now is not the time to be quiet.

If leadership in Washington, DC can betray the public behind closed doors, it’s time that the American public gain the right to transparency about what they are eating and the food they’re feeding their families every day.

Not only is GMO labeling a reasonable and common sense solution to the continued controversy that corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical have created by subverting our basic democratic rights, but it is a basic right that citizens in 62 other countries around the world already enjoy, including Europe, Russia, China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

In addition, mandatory labeling of GMO foods is something that President Obama promised while on the campaign trail in 2007 to Iowa farmers when he said on Nov. 10 in Des Moines: “Here’s what I’ll do as president … we’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”

It’s time that President Obama hold true to his campaign promise to Iowa farmers and the American people by issuing an executive order to label GMOs in our food products immediately. The American people need real leadership in Washington, DC, not more backroom deals by corporate lobbyists that subvert our democracy.

The passage of the Monsanto Protection Act is another sign of how out of touch Congress and the White House are with the sentiment of the America public. The insertion of the biotech rider in a backroom deal with corporate lobbyists and Senate leaders is a new low. Since losing a court case in 2010 to Center for Food Safety for the unlawful planting of GMO sugar beets, Monsanto and other biotech companies have been desperate to find a way around court mandated environmental impact statements required as a result of a U.S. district court’s ruling.

There is a fierce urgency in the fight over the Monsanto Protection Act for family farmers and food activists across the country as 13 new genetically engineered crops await approval at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and AquaBounty’s GMO salmon could be approved by the Food and Drug Administration next month. The passage of this rider in an unrelated budget spending bill could open the floodgates for these new approvals, even if the budget agreement only lasts for the next six months.

Any new approvals could threaten the livelihoods of America’s farmers, as the approval of even a single one of these untested crops can lead to widespread contamination of farmers’ crops, bringing economic harm to farmers and contamination to our seed supply.

For the past year, family farm advocates and legal experts have fought to stop the Monsanto Protection Act, another special interest corporate giveaway that fundamentally undermines the federal courts’ ability to protect family farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous GMO crops that have not been proven safe.

We recognize that there are narrow-minded people out there who do not think that a six-month provision that subverts our Constitution and judicial authority for another corporate handout to Monsanto is worth shutting down the federal government, but here at Food Democracy Now! we disagree.

We are greatly encouraged by the quarter million American people who have signed this letter and the tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress and the White House to demand that our basic rights are upheld by our elected officials, particularly our President. This is a sign of how urgent citizen participation is to maintaining a democracy.

Click here to make a call to the White House and let President Obama and your members of Congress know how upset you are and that it’s time for GMO labeling.

Visit EcoWatch’s GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM page for more related news on this topic.

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