I Hate You For Sentimental Reasons
Man on a Mission, er, Rampage
Evolution teaches that unhealthy traits such as Attention Deficit Disorder – if it existed, which it does not – would be reduced over time by natural selection. But you and your ilk – mind-rapists all – claim that ADD is on the increase and growing worse every day. You are the scum of the Earth and your fucked-up scam is not going to succeed. Soon enough, I will see to it that the federal and state authorities become wise to you and punish you accordingly. Go die in an alley, you worthless piece of shit. All your words and spins won't help you when the ax comes down. Get ready for prison, jerkoff!
John P. Dougherty III
Dear Mr. Dougherty,
Why am I not surprised that a web search reveals no mention of "Rampage for Truth," though nobody would question that you are on a rampage? Evolution must also teach that unhealthy "traits" such as cancer would be reduced over time by natural selection. Yet when adjusted for age cancer rates are almost as high as they've ever been and when not adjusted for age they are higher than ever. The same is true for a number of illnesses. Other illnesses are perhaps no more prevalent than ever, merely more readily identified and treated. ADHD quite possibly falls in the latter category. Insofar as federal and state authorities have increasingly become aware of ADHD, the harm it causes, and the various medicinal remedies for it, I don't think they will be punishing me any time soon. In any case, you seem rather confused as to my fate. Am I to die in an alley, rot in prison, or suffer decapitation? Or better yet, shall I continue to turn out articles that infuriate nutcases such as you?
It's Gotta Be True; I Read it on the Web
Dear Mr. Fumento,
The information you present your readers is one sided [sic] and misleading.
"The U.S. National Institutes of Health Conference on ADHD in 1998 found that kids taking prescribed, mind-altering drugs still have a higher level of some behavior problems. As noted in the 2000 NIH ADHD Consensus Statement: ".stimulant [sic] treatments may not 'normalize' the entire range of behavior problems, and children under treatment may still manifest a higher level of some behavior problems than normal children.
Of concern are the consistent findings that despite the improvement in core symptoms, there is little improvement in academic achievement or social skills. Recent studies show that children who take psychiatric stimulants for "ADHD" are 46% more likely to commit one felony, and 36% more likely to commit two or more felonies. Instead of overcoming supposed learning difficulties, these children are at risk of moving toward a life of crime." [Where are the open quotes?]
Also according to the United Nations the U.S. produces and consumes five times more methylphenidate than the rest of the world combined. The United States now consumes more than 80 percent of the total world supply of methylphenidate. Also the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board written [sic] letters to U.S. officials expressing their concern about the sharp increase in the use of methylphenidate in the United States.
Also I would like if you would persent [sic] all the information, yet at the same time please counter point [sic] the negative information you supply your readers.
Also if you get this far in my letter before sending it to the trash. What is [sic] the United State [sic] having this pandemic of ADD cases [By definition, "pandemic" means it would extend beyond U.S. borders.] when the rest of the world does not, do you honestly believe that people out there in other countries, which [sic] aren't third [sic] world [sic], aren't getting treated?
Thank you for yout [sic] time,
PS: I eagerly wait your response, I'm only play [sic] devil [sic] advocate here so I can probe your knowledge so that you will give me an interesting and new view on this subject.
Dear Mr. Clayton,
You SHOULD thank me in that ANY time I give you is exactly that much more time than you deserve. What you're saying in the second paragraph is that ADHD drugs aren't 100 percent effective. No! Really! Please name a single drug that is. Further, you simply pulled that statement and the following one with the alleged statistics from an anti-ADHD medicine website. I looked it up and found six references to it, all from advocacy groups and none with citations. One was from the whacko Church of Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights. So you tell me, just where did those "recent studies" appear?
Please also provide a source for your allegations regarding the U.N. I already know it's yet another uncited statement from a conspiracy-theory advocacy group. It is true that usage of ADHD drugs and diagnoses of ADHD are considerably higher in the U.S. than elsewhere, but rates are rising throughout Europe as more and more doctors become aware that there's a treatable underlying disorder here that's not just "ants in the pants." Meanwhile, quackery like homeopathy is huge in Europe compared to here. In countries like Germany and Italy, doctors will write prescriptions ordering companies to give employees paid leave to attend "cures." These are spas with saunas, Jacuzzis, and so on – often accompanied by casinos. These are not prescribed for things like mental exhaustion but serious disorders such as heart disease! So much for the superiority of European medicine.
You think you're clever "playing devil's advocate," but actually you're just playing the fool.
Dear Mr. Fumento,
I'm sorry that I came off as some douche who [sic] you thought was trying to be a clever devils [sic] advocate, I just like to sit on the opposite position of a persons [sic] views and see how well I can defend a position as well as expand my views on issues.
Now on to my questions.
[269 douchy words omitted.]
Thank [sic] for more of your time,
Please don't thank me, as I've already given you more time that you deserve and you'll get no more.
The Wrath of Khan
I wonder what interest you have in bashing Dr. Block? Maybe you have an interest in keeping natural and healthy alternatives from the publics [sic] consciousness? Maybe you are profiting in some way from the massive drugging of our children?
I am devoting my life to keeping people like you from affecting the publics [sic] awareness. Thank you for the extra boost to my morale and my mission.
I wish you luck with your karma.
Dear Ms. Kahn:
I wonder what interest you have in bashing me? I merely wrote that Dr. Block is selling placebos to parents she misleads that do nothing to alleviate a disorder that is all too real and is highly treatable with real medicine. Other than that, I'm sure she's a real saint. Maybe you have an interest in selling placebos, too? Maybe you are profiting in some way from so many of our children suffering from a readily-helped disorder?
I am devoting my life to making people like you look like idiots. But you've got to give me a bit more of a challenge.
I hope your dogma bites you on the leg.
I am a nutrition major thanks [sic] for your interest.
Which I suppose makes you an expert in neurological disorders? Thanks for your interest.
No Idea Where This Came from Hate
Subject: Liberals, ugh
fumento Why don't you research a topic before you began (sic, sic). Hannity [Fox News's Sean Hannity] had the same subject on radio and you know who is to blame, your darling hillary [sic] care [sic]. [This is a reference to Hillary Rodham Clintons failed socialized medicine plan.] She has been doing behind the scenes [sic] that obviously you did not know about or you would not have made a fool of your self [sic] with the article. And now ding dong [sic] kerry [sic] is touting her health care plan that will be a budget buster. If the seniors think they are going to get something for nothing they better start reading up on the democrats [sic] pronto, because the dems [sic] don't have them in mind at all.
I haven't the least idea of what you're talking about, my only comfort being that obviously neither do you.
We Need to "Start" Helping People with AIDS
Dear sir [sic]: It is important to consider that HIV is a spreadable disease, all others mentioned are not...People are going to have sex, young folks especially, whether the conservative Christian evangelical yahoos, or their counterparts in the media (FOX news [sic], etc), like it or not, so it's time to start helping people instead of alienating them.
Dear Ms. Barnofsky:
It is important to consider that, as I noted, AIDS is a completely preventable disease. There are only a select few activities that expose a person to it unlike, say, flu, which kills over twice as many Americans yearly as AIDS. I'm not being judgmental here; I'm merely pointing out the facts. Meanwhile, please tell me how people can prevent getting most types of cancer, or Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's, or all those other diseases the budgets of which are dwarfed by AIDS spending. And again, you reinforce my conclusion that with you people there's no such thing as "enough." So spending two billion dollars a year on a program that's exclusively for HIV/AIDS patients AND spending at least 13 times per death for AIDS as any other disease means we haven't even STARTED ("it's time to start") to help people with this one illness? Good God!
Dear Mr. Fumento...I'm sorry, though my name is Jody, I happen to be a man...anyway you and your ilk seem to have a major chip on your cold shoulders!!!...so what could I possibly say to you but ...F**K OFF !!!
Dear Mr. Barnofsky:
You're right, only the coldest of people (or a "Christian evangelical yahoo") would point out that out of the tens of millions of people who die of disease in underdeveloped countries, only a small fraction – even using the inflated World Health Organization estimates – die of AIDS, while only the most caring of individuals such as you would ignore those hundreds of millions. Only the most heartless person would mention that for the $2 billion annually we spend on handouts to persons with AIDS/HIV we could wipe out entire diseases in Africa. I will rush right out to the drugstore to get a heating pad for my shoulders.
"How Dare You Say What You Didn't Say?"
You have alot [sic] of nerve saying to cut off the funding for AIDS – what if one of your own children were dying from it just like my brother is. Your opinion might change once someone in your immediate family is dying of an uncurable [sic] disease. There are people out there that cannot sleep at night worried about a family member, or even themselves, afraid of death by AIDS. Until there is a cure for this horrible life-threatening disease I will not stand for someone suggesting that "Enough is Enough". Speak for yourself Mr. Fumento. "Enough is Enough" – your insensative [sic] words are only making the matter worse.
Dear Ms. West:
It always helps to first read the piece you're ranting about. Nowhere did I mention "cutting off" or even reducing AIDS funding. I merely pointed out that funding for AIDS is grossly inequitable, leaving policy decisions for others. Actually, I don't think my position would change if somebody in my family were dying of an incurable disease insofar as I just had a close friend die of one such; but her disease gets no research money because it has no lobby. She might even be alive today had not funds for all other diseases been siphoned off for the unquenchable thirst of the AIDS lobby. But unlike AIDS victims, there was absolutely nothing she could do to avoid her illness. And you WILL stand for me writing what I wish because we both live in a country where free speech is protected, even when it comes from grotesquely selfish AIDS activists who can't read or spell. When a dictatorship takes over, converts the last dime in the national budget to AIDS research, and outlaws free speech I'll make sure you're the first to know.
I Need Callous Remover for My Heart
Dear Mr. Fumento,
While I have no personal connection to AIDS, I recognize the importance of AIDS research. In considering the amount of money spent per death in the US, you are grossly overlooking the legitimate world concerns for the disease. The US might not be experiencing an epidemic, but if you were only to look to the Southern [sic] Hemisphere [sic] you might see where the real danger lies. AIDS affects many, many lives in countries that cannot adequately fund their own research programs. They are relying on the wealthier nations to help combat their diseases. By writing them off as a waste of money, you are suggesting a truly callous method of practicing and researching medicine [sic].
Dear Mr. Twomey:
Your compassion for other peoples overwhelms me. TB and malaria alone kill millions of people outside the U.S. each year. My guess is that AIDS spending in the U.S. swamps that for these two diseases combined by at least a factor of 200. Other utterly horrific diseases in underdeveloped nations get no research money in the U.S. Further, you completely ignore the non-medical spending that's exclusively for U.S. AIDS spending, namely $2 billion a year on the Ryan White Act. With that $2 billion we could probably cure every single case of TB in all of Africa. By writing these people off as a waste of money because they don't happen to have your pet disease, you are suggesting a truly callous method of practicing and researching medicine.
Just another Letter from a Disinterested Party
Reasons why AIDS is a priority health issue [sic]
[I hate that expression! Use "reasons" or "why" but not both together!]
1. AIDS kills people at a much younger age then heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Negative impact on economy [sic] is greater as the disabled are of productive working age.
2. AIDS prevention is associated with numerous behavioural and sociological factors, similar to heart disease. Whilst heart disease will disproportionately affect low income people with poor diets and poor access to healthy food [sic]. AIDS will disproportionately affect people with low income and low self esteem who do not value their lives because society does not value their lives. People suffering form [sic] the terrible diseases of cancer and heart disease do not carry this added burden.
3. AIDS disproportionately affects certain racial groups, [sic] African American [sic] women are 13 times more likely to contract AIDS. This is catastrophic for the African American community, caveats of disease intensity are not accounted for in broad statistical comparisons such as you have made.
4. AIDS is associated with much social stigma which greatly compounds the harmful experience of living with AIDS, e.g. for access to housing, education. This stigma is not associated with heart disease, or pancreatic cancer. Heart disease is self inflicted [sic] also but does not cause people to isolate the victim and attempt to bar them from housing or participating in education, which many landlords or school children will do towards [sic] people with AIDS
5. The absolute numbers of HIV infection is increasing, HIV drugs are very expensive and require constant development as resistance is developed to them. This is not the case with drugs for heart disease or cancer as these are not caused by micro organisms [sic] prone to mutation. In fact the marginal benefit of every extra dollar spent on heart disease or most cancer is minute. The Quality Adjusted Life Year [QUALY] or Disability Adjusted Life Year [DALY-WHO] of every dollar spent on heart disease, diabetes or cancer research is statistically insignificant ["Statistically insignificant" is a term of art meaning the results are not robust enough to satisfy demands that they weren't arrived at by chance. The writer actually means "not significant to me."] at this point, as again these conditions are behaviorally precipitated and require a holistic approach, similar to AIDS and all chronic diseases, rather than further drug research.
6. Ryan White has been flat funded [sic] for a number of years, despite the increase in HIV infections and number of people living with HIV. /this [sic] equals a real term reduction in Ryan White funding which is growing in magnitude in proportion top need.
7. HIV/AIDS is not associated with the same level of private funds that certain cancers and diseases have. The breast cancer fund and childhood diabetes fund are amply funded to provide substantial research monies for these terrible diseases, HIV does not attract the same level of private funds because of the social stigma attached to it, and hence relies more heavily on public funding which gives it the appearance of excessive attention by scrutineers [Is that like "Mouseketeers"?] such as yourself [sic]. In reality is [sic] the role of state and federal government to support causes which are socially responsible if not publicly palatable, such as mental health and AIDS research.
It is sad to hear such attacks on HIV/AIDS resources still after [sic] so many years, and I hope that this e mail [sic] has gone some way to dispel the negative perceptions you have over this issue. The experience for people living with AIDS on a personal level is heartbreaking not least in that the majority will choose to scorn their disease and ignore the imbalance of suffering placed upon them compared to those living with any other chronic disease.
By refusing to acknowledge this we further increase their pain and perpetuate this shameful aspect of our society. To gain a better understanding of the experiences of people with AIDS I would suggest that you spend some time in an AIDS charity if you have not already done so.
[At the bottom of "her" letter, in what appears to have been a mistake,
she has HTML code referring to this website: http://www.sholayevents.com/
Among the events:
Dear "Ms" Matin, whom I suspect is a Mr. (or was at one time),
Thanks for such a wonderful example of the complete egocentricity and selfishness of the AIDS lobby. Or are you going to pretend you're just an outside observer after leaving that HTML code at the bottom of your email?
1. Your basic point is wrong. While AIDS cases are disproportionately represented among younger people, because other diseases have so many deaths they still kill more young people than does AIDS. For example, as Table I-13 at the federal SEER cancer statistics site shows, 0.9 percent of cancer deaths occur between the ages of 20-34. That's about 5,000 deaths among just those young people compared to 16,000 AIDS deaths among Americans of all ages and is almost exactly the same number of homosexual AIDS deaths - not counting the overlap homosexual/ drug abuser category. For that matter, gay groups used to insist that 10 percent of the population is homosexual. Were that the case, it would mean that the annual cancer toll among homosexuals would again swamp the AIDS toll among homosexuals, which is less than half that 16,000 figure. Using the now generally-accepted figure that 2 percent of the population is homosexual, we still have more homosexuals dying of cancer than of AIDS! And remember, heart disease kills more people – and thus more homosexuals – than even cancer. Your selfishness is coming back to haunt you.
2. As to the effect on the economy, as you well know the second-highest risk group for AIDS comprises intravenous drug users. These people on the whole make a negative contribution to the economy. I'm not saying write them off because they use drugs, but if you want to play the "impact on the economy" game you lose.
3. So you're saying we should allocate disease resources on a subjective decision (namely, yours) of the self-esteem of the victims. How utterly bizarre!
4. When I pointed out that blacks and Hispanics were going to get slammed by AIDS, while your AIDS lobby was striving desperately to portray it as a disease of white middle-class heterosexuals, I was called a racist pig. My how times change! Now you find you can exploit people's skin color for your cause. But your problem is that once again other diseases have so much more impact on the population as a whole that even those especially at risk for AIDS, be it younger people or blacks, still have worry about from these other illnesses. Thus, as I noted in the longer version of the piece you're responding to, "more than eight times as many blacks die of cancer than of AIDS. In fact, more than four times as many blacks die of cancer annually than Americans of all races die of AIDS." Nevertheless, I am truly touched by your obviously heart-felt compassion for racial minorities.
5. Having suggested we allocate resources on the basis of self-esteem, you now suggest we do so on the basis of stigmatization. As Church Lady would put it, "How conveeeeeenient!" So let's see, that means we should immediately increase by, say, tenfold, funds spent on herpes, Chlamydia, and HPV. We need to include lung cancer in there, too, because smoking is stigmatized and the vast majority of lung cancers come from tobacco usage. Since smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, we need to pump up the funds for that too. Ironically, it's precisely because of the stigma of AIDS that it's grossly overfunded. The AIDS lobby's cry that, "AIDS is not a gay disease and you're a homophobe for not funding it more!" may be completely contradictory but it obviously worked. Congress now falls all over itself to prove how unprejudiced and non-homophobic it is, no matter how many heterosexuals AND homosexuals will die of other diseases because of their faux compassion.
6. More than any other response, this shows your true arrogance and selfishness and proves my point that with you people absolutely nothing can ever be enough. You cry bitter tears that Ryan White funding hasn't gone up in the last few years even as you ignore my criticism that we give it $2 annually while there is no such program for sufferers of any other disease. You want it to go up proportionately with those who have HIV or AIDS? Fine. Next year let's fund it at $1. Then each year we'll increase it proportionately.
7. Please provide your source for your statement on private funding? If social stigma did prevent private funding, why does it attract public funding by unanimous votes in both houses of Congress? Were it indeed true that AIDS got less private funding it would seem that a better hypothesis would be because it has so many fewer victims and the outlook for AIDS victims is dramatically improving while for that of major diseases like Alzheimer's it's steadily worsening and for cancer it's improving only in baby steps. Even as I write this, I found out minutes ago that a friend died of cancer at age 43. Two months ago I lost a friend to cancer at age 64 and very much in the prime of his life. Yet like most people I've never lost a friend to AIDS, essentially because relatively speaking so few people have died of it. Don't you think that might affect private funding? And again, I simply don't accept that a disease deserves more funds because it's contracted through methods that are morally suspect. If a new disease started striking down muggers, would you favor throwing the vast sums of money at it because, after all, a lot of us frown upon mugging?
All your excuses for the grotesque inequity of AIDS funding for research and through Ryan White come down to one thing: You're infected, you're at risk for infection, or you have lots of friends who fall in those categories. To be sure, your motives are pure. They are 100 percent selfish.
She Really Knows the Drill
You are certainly correct in pointing out that more public attention and funding should be aimed at preventing and curing diseases such as cancer and heart disease, especially in light of the fact that they affect many more individuals than does AIDS. However, your column does not make the vital link between high funding of AIDS research and prevention and low spending on other diseases – in other words, you never tell us how AIDS research is funded at the expense of other programs.
If we table the discussion of funding on disease research for just a moment, your opinion that we should have less concern and sympathy for AIDS victims and more concern and sympathy for say, influenza or cancer victims, comes off as hard-hearted and a bit stingy. Is there some global shortage of compassion, Mr. Fumento, that we don't have enough to spare for the victims of AIDS as well as cancer, influenza, heart disease, and others?
Also, I think there are some attributes of HIV/AIDS that you might have overlooked while writing your column. AIDS disproprotionately [sic] affects young people and often kills people in their 20's [sic], 30's [sic], and 40's [sic] – what many would consider to be the "prime of life." Not only that, but the disease is almost entirely preventable [sic], requiring nothing more than the proper use of a latex condom. Contrast this with something like Alzheimer's or heart disease which tends to be most lethal in the elderly (we all die of something, do we not?) and which is much more difficult to prevent. In the case of Alzheimer's, no preventive strategy is known, and preventing heart disease requires things like exercise and a healthy diet which many people find difficult to maintain. It is my feeling that part of the anguish some of us feel over something like AIDS is that not only does it kill people at a very young age, but it can be so easily prevented. One could easily make the moral argument that we should expend our effort on the fights we can win, and AIDS certainly looks like a fight we could win.
Don't get me wrong, I strongly believe that we have a moral and scientific imperative to fund research into the prevention and cure of the devastating diseases you mention (cancer, Alzheimer's, and heart disease to name a few.) Still, in many ways we are still very far from finding effective treatments and reliable preventitive [sic] medicine for some of these diseases. In a lot of cases, we aren't even sure of the disease pathogenesis! But AIDS, unlike cancer for example, is something that we know enough about to be able to effectively eradicate it from the population. I think perhaps that because there is an end in sight for AIDS that we are more willing to spend money to try and get there. [Interesting. One of the original arguments for overspending on AIDS was that we were so far away from a cure. Wonderful how they have it both ways.]
With something like cancer, because the science is still in the very basic stages, the odds of spending lots of money on research or a treatment strategy and not having it work out are far greater. I don't offer this by way of excuse – I absolutely agree with your point that more money should be spent on all medical research, not just AIDS – but I am not convinced that we need to spend less on AIDS in order to spend more on cancer. I am also not convinced that you truly understand the ramifications of all that you suggest, or that you possess the compassion and humanity to get to the heart of what AIDS or any disease means to the individuals who suffer from it.
P.S. [sic] I have checked with some Infectious Disease colleagues, none of whom agreed with your statement that "The medicines are now so incredibly effective that while HIV infection was once seen as a death sentence, it's now viewed as an inconvenience." Likewise, none of the HIV positive individuals that I know feel that HIV/AIDS is a mere inconvenience. You should be wary that you don't fall into the traps of exaggeration and rhetoric that you are so quick to criticize in others. Your basic point is a good one, but you do not do your argument any good at all by embellishing it with questionable facts.
Dear Ms. Bourell:
This may come as a complete and utter shock to you, but this nation is running a huge budget deficit. Fact is, the NIH budget just went through a huge five-year increase. But it's not going to grow very fast in the near future. If you're spending massive funds to research one disease, then obviously funding for others suffers. Further, researchers are even more limited than money. Years ago the oversized AIDS budget began steering people even as they were finishing medical school from various other diseases into AIDS. Researchers like to know their work will get NIH funds, and the best way to ensure that is to work on the politically correct diseases. Of these, clearly none is more so than AIDS. You also skipped right over the non-medical spending under the Ryan White Act. Did you think I simply wouldn't notice? I don't know if there's a global shortage of compassion, but you obviously suffer a personal one since it's you who believes it's fair to have such a program exclusively for the victims of AIDS to the exclusion of sufferers of cancer, influenza, heart disease, and every other disease known to man.
AIDS disproportionately kills young people, but because cancer kills so many more people throughout the population it's cancer that kills more people in every age range – including that "prime of life" category. And how can you possibly think it serves your argument that AIDS is preventable (or "preventible," as you wrote) while so many other diseases that receive a fraction of the funding are not? You're right that in the First World at least if people simply wore condoms and didn't exchange needles AIDS would disappear. But they won't so it won't. Maybe it anguishes you that two men in a bath house or who met at a gay bar have anal sex without a condom, but I see that as a choice that they've made knowing they're exposing themselves to HIV. I take no moral position here; I won't even say they're being stupid. I've taken risks that others wouldn't. I merely note exactly what you did, that you can't prevent pancreatic cancer or ALS with a rubber. You cannot win your "war" on AIDS because men are going to have sex with other men whose HIV status is unknown, they are going to have anal sex, and they are going to forego protection. And there's not a thing you or I or anyone else can do about it. Keeping IV drug users from sharing needles and syringes is also impossible if that is what they choose to do. Marx thought you could socially re-engineer people and it took 70 horrible years before the Soviets finally realized you cannot.
You're also apparently saying that because we have made so much progress with AIDS such that deaths have been cut by 75 percent, and because 99 percent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within five years (My wife had a friend who succumbed in three months.) we need to keep pouring more money on AIDS and keep tossing crumbs at pancreatic cancer? Do you read what you write, or do you merely have wicked hands that detach themselves while you sleep and crawl to the keyboard?
P.S.: Regarding the "scientific methodology" you employed concerning the increase in unprotected sex among homosexuals, me I prefer studies to asking questions around the water cooler. Here's the conclusion of one from a 2002 issue of the journal AIDS:
"Among sexually active homosexual men, lessened concern about HIV transmission due to HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) was strongly associated with sexual risk taking, as was safer sex fatigue among HIV-positive men." Here's one from the same journal just year this and you don't even have to bother reading the study or the abstract, because the title is: "Homosexual Men Change to Risky Sex When Perceiving Less Threat of HIV/AIDS Since Availability of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy: A Longitudinal Study."
Bottom line: I embellished nothing and you have been consistently wrong except where you contradict yourself. You assertions are worthless with anyone who does not share your same prejudices and the same lack of compassion and humanity you (or those wicked hands) show to disease sufferers. I wouldn't be surprised to hear you get a real kick out of watching quadruple root canals.
Thinking People Don't Like Statistics
You left out several important aspects of our government spending on AIDS and other medical research. I would probably agree with you that government spending is usually skewed toward getting the most "bang for the buck" in political terms, rather than where it is most needed. However you left out the pandemic in Africa that is going largely untreated because of the patent rights of American pharmaceutical companies. It makes the drugs unaffordable to the poor of the world. It seems unconscionable to me that this is happening. It bothers me that our taxes pay for much of the research, and private companies reap the profit from the discoveries.
I couldn't tell if you support fetal stem cell research [sic] or not, but it seems the promise of this technology would help treat all the other diseases you mentioned in your article. If this is so, why not mention it in your article? Our President has put severe boundries [sic] on government support for this promising research. I don't know the state of your health, but wouldn't you accept a cure if you had one of the other diseases, if it came from stem cell research?
One other minor point. The diseases you mentioned as underfunded as compared to AIDS, are primarily diseases of older age. The death statistics you quote don't distinguish between 20 year olds [sic] and 80 year olds [sic]. If one looks at the demographics of AIDS, I would expect the majority of people affected are in the years where they should be productive and active. I realize many are infected due to their own foolishness, but this is more a disease of the young, as compared to Parkinsons [sic], type II diabetes, and prostate cancer being primarily diseases of the middle age to old. (By the way, I'm in my 70's.) Thowing [sic] a lot of statistics around is not very convincing to a thinking person. This approach is the mothers [sic] milk of politicians and is dishonest and misleading. It is meant to inflame people and does little to further reasonable discussion of complex and divisive topics. Your column looked more like a political diatribe than a thoughtful presentation of the facts. Try again, please.
Dear Mr. Manker:
Drugs generally are dirt cheap to make but cost an absolute fortune to develop. With no patent protection, drug companies won't produce drugs. Remove patent protection just for Africa, and soon you'll find that those in the West are re-importing them from that continent just as Americans are re-importing from Canada. That said, many US companies are making huge drug donations to Africa and American spending on non-U.S. AIDS is twice that of the rest of the world combined. Add in private charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the disparity becomes all the greater.
By "fetal stem cell research," you mean "embryonic stem cell research." I have repeatedly written about this and no I do not support it because everything you've heard about it is hype. No ESC has ever been so much as experimentally used on a human. On the other hand, stem cells from fully developed humans and umbilical cords and placentas have been treating human disease for almost 50 years and currently treat over 80 medical conditions. But it remains that to develop any type of therapy, you need money – be it pharmaceuticals, surgery, stem cells, or what-have-you. So no, stem cells cannot overcome the spending disparity problem.
Yes, AIDS is more a problem with younger people, but I'm not big on writing people off because they're over a certain age. Further, out of the approximately 16,000 people who died of AIDS in the last year for which there are data about 9,000 were intravenous drug abusers. These people are hardcore addicts and from being "productive" are costly to society. Further, because the impact of all of the diseases I discussed is so much greater over the entire population, they are also greater on young people. And while their death rates are going up or holding steady, AIDS deaths are steadily dropping. You mention type II diabetes. Did you know this was until recently called "adult-onset" but the name was changed because now so many children and teens are getting it?
I'm sorry you find the use of statistics to be inflammatory. Perhaps you prefer anecdotes or epithets. I'm not sure you qualify as a representative for "thinking persons," but I believe what you mean is that the use of statistics can be very powerful and makes for a factual piece, rather than "a political diatribe." It's precisely that to which you are objecting. You were just dying to find something like, "And who cares about a bunch of druggies and homos, anyway?" but it wasn't there. Such is my sin.
It's Always Smart to Read Your Own Study
I read your book, "The myth [sic] of heterosexual [sic] AIDS", with great interest when published in 1990. At that time you referenced a 1988 paper of mine as "alarming." Atttached [sic] is our most recent publication on the topic. With the passage of time, I wonder what you think now about heterosexual transmission of HIV infection.
Dear Dr. Haverkos:
Your paper is titled: "Is There An Epidemic of HIV/AIDS Among Heterosexuals in the USA?" I note that you mention my book in it. According to your Table 2, in 1996 there were 8821 heterosexual cases while in the last year for which you provide data, 2001, there were only 6904. Nevertheless, in your conclusion you state that "heterosexual transmission of HIV and AIDS appears to be increasing in the USA." That 6904 equals about one out of ever 54,000 U.S. heterosexuals. I would thus have to conclude that no, despite your sincerest hopes and wishes, a significant decline from a tiny number to an even tinier one does not represent an epidemic. I look forward to hearing from you in another 16 years. And not sooner.
We're Still Figuring Out Why, but We Hate Bush
Christian fundie [sic] right-wing against Bush and War
Some are US Military [sic] vets.
Dr. Stan (radioliberty.com) was involved with AIDS.
(P.S. [sic] No one suggests Kerry is any better.)
Dear Ms. Tapioco:
Judging from the websites you present, which lists radio show hosts like the certifiably insane Joyce Riley, they're not ultra-conservative but whacked-out far-right. Unlike you, I'm a vet and somehow I don't have that X-ray vision that allows me to "see through" Bush. And do I take your "No one suggests Kerry is any better," to mean you're supporting Ralph Nader? Or perhaps Lyndon LaRouche?
An Appleton a Day Keeps Intelligence Away
I ended up looking at your site because you wrote an article on the fat gene. I have an ongoing argument with one of my friends at work who is very overweight. He thinks a large group of people fit into the "It's not me, it's my genes" mode. I am in the exercise and eat less camp. The topics that you cover are very interesting. But it did not take long to see how nasty you are and how much pleasure you get from insulting people. I changed my mind about reading your books or articles. There seem to be a lot of people in 2004 with this negative persona, so the general American public must like it. Ann Coulter and other political guttersnipes come to mind. On the more pornographic spectrum, Howard Stern comes to mind as well as all the vulgar rap videos. Disrespect sells today. I am sure you don't care what I think. Hope this trend changes.
Dear Miss Appleton:
Translation: I said that fat people aren't fat because of their genes but because they eat too much and don't exercise enough to make up for it. Put another way, rather than be warm and fuzzy and pat them on the head and tell them, "You're fat is not your fault," I told them that their fat is nobody's fault by their own and until they accept that they will remain fat. Perhaps you think it compassionate to lie to people and to keep them from their goals. But you're right in that I don't care what you think and that's a trend that won't change.
[This came after a posting I made on one of the zillions of essentially-unread blogger sites of Tim Lambert (a.k.a., "Deltoid"), in which said blogger "carefully dissected" a piece of mine. In other words, he trashed it more or less without reading it. I responded and two fellow bloggers seem to have taken it personally since their blogs are in the same category of being online and unseen. One is "inkstain," a.k.a., John Fleck, who has previously contributed enjoyable foolishness to the Hate Mail page. The other was this David Mason fellow.]
Michael Fumento, Peach Pit
Don't be part of the problem.
David Mason (a poor, lowly blogger)
Omigod! I was SO wrong! I mean, isn't Albuquerque the 2nd or 3rd-largest population center in the entire United States – if not the world! I'll bet Pres. Bush receives inkstain's comments as part of his morning briefing. Thanks for making my point, fellow useless blogger. Why don't you try working for a living? And no, maintaining an oversized ego is NOT considered work.
This is so great! I used to think that egotistical writers like you only live in bad fiction with one-dimensional characters. I apologize, I was so wrong!
Oooops – you are so right about one thing – I should work for a living... my PhD is so wasted on my simple accomplishments that you assume I don't have. Real work would involve being extremely bitter and I just don't feel I am there yet. One day though, I will reach the depths of my new hero! Still, I am lucky enough to have a wife with an M.D. who can help me spell Albuquerque correctly! There is hope for me after all.
[He got me on the misspelling; but he actually missed another. I was dog tired when I replied.]
Insane laughter? Not a good sign, Dave. And as for me being egotistical, I would point out that I said absolutely nothing about myself in my response to you. I guess my lack of self-denigration is what you relied upon. But the fact is, since inkspot actually tells people things that are false under the guise of being true he's not even a simple non-contributor to society; he detracts. Since you feel obliged to defend him, you are in his camp and therefore another part of the problem. If it somehow makes me an egotist to point out the obvious, so be it. And by the way, the world is filled with PhDs that are worthless or worse. That you would fall back upon having written a dissertation and having those letters after your name would seem to indicate that you feel you belong in that category. I shan't argue.
[Then Lambert responded on his site.]
John Fleck [inkstain] commented on my exchange with Fumento. He responded to Fumento's silly charge that I "occupy the pitiful place of the harmless blogger who blogs because nobody in his right mind would punish [sic] him" with: That's of course ad hominem [sic] something of a poor refuge in any argument. But it's worse than that. It's plain dumb in this age of Dan Rather and Little Green Footballs [The blogger who first exposed CBS's use of forged documents to discredit President Bush just before the election.] for a writer of Fumento's stature to expect us to think he wins the argument because his work is published in mainstream media. Sure enough, Fleck got an email from Fumento:
Subject: Ah, another worthless observation from somebody that can't get published so he blogs.
[Now Lambert continues.]
On a slightly more serious note: Fumento has managed to get his attack on the Lancet paper published in the Sacremento Bee, the Arizona Daily Star and the Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune. Just think how much it would bug him if you wrote a Letter to the Editor about his column. [Bug me? The ones carbon-copied to me I post as hate mail.]
Oh, and my humble blog is now the second site returned by a Google search for "Fumento". [Note the small-time blogger obsession with rankings, even if it's being ranked for saying something dumb.]
[Then my response:]
Thanks for helping prove my point, Deltoid-Lambert. Your blog ranking is below (worse than) 500. Until you started mentioning me, it was around 1,500. And no, the Lancet column I wrote didn't just appear in the four papers you mentioned. It appears in places you don't even know about because, unlike your blog, it isn't confined to the web but also appears in print. Yesterday it was in the Washington Times print edition. But if only the web interests you, you should know it was picked up by the entire McClatchy News Service. That means that in addition to automatically going onto the website of the Sacramento Bee (not the Sacremento Bee) it goes to about a dozen other newspaper websites as well.
As you let the search engine spiders do their stuff, you'll find it on more and more newspapers as well as on blog sites that people actually read, the latest being Jihad Watch (ranking 88). Meanwhile, my apologies for not knowing that you appear in America's most widely-read newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal – circulation about half that of just the Washington Times.
Bottom line: You're not one of those few but vital bloggers such "Little Green Footballs" as you imagine. That is as arrogant as if I put myself in the same class as Tolstoy or Hemingway because we're all authors. Moreover, as your own postings attest, you are very much in the minority in the Blogosphere on the Lancet article. One blogger after another is ripping the study apart, even as you desperately try to show that each and every one is wrong. You're just another pissant "Dear Diary" hack without the good sense to write your thoughts down and throw them into the trash can. Now I am going to do the worst possible thing you can do to somebody who measures his life by "hits." I'm not going to write to you again, and I'm going to watch your traffic – such as it is – plummet. It must be sad to have jealousy as one's prime motivator in life, but that is your problem and not mine. Bye-bye.
[Lambert then posted this on his blogsite.]
Fumento left a comment on my earlier post. Instead of discussing the Lancet article, he boasted how his column had been published in the Lake Wylie Pilot, which is a free weekly newspaper serving a town of 3,000 people. Hey, my little blog has a greater circulation than that.
My posted response: Sigh. You are so obsessed you are now lying about what I wrote to you. I didn't say I appeared in the Lake Wylie Pilot, I said my column is picked up by the McClatchey News Service which posts it automatically to the sites of over a dozen papers. You chose the smallest, ignoring such as the Sacramento Bee and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. I must have really stuck a pin in that over-inflated ego of yours – not that it was difficult.
Subject Line: You're Such a Whore
I'd rather be a high-class call girl than a minus-IQ hate mailer, but thanks for the information.
[Again, without any text in his message, he sent this as his subject line:]
So you admit you're a whore, remember all prostitutes are low-class trash...
Saying "I'd rather be a high-class call girl" than be you wouldn't seem support your contention. On the other hand, thanks for providing more evidence that your IQ is indeed lower than was once considered possible.
Does the "Medical Community" Have a Gated Entrance?
Do you support the medical community on the decision to keep Vioxx on the market for years despite studies that indicated there were links to heart attack and stroke? The medical community that you support needs some work. Have you ever considered putting your column in cartoon form like a [sic] Doonesbury?
[omitted] Fluck [Not to be confused with the hateful Mr. Fleck.]
Dear Mr. Fluck:
First, the "medical community" has pulled Vioxx from the market. Hence your question comes a bit late. Second, I didn't have access to the data that the FDA and Merck did, but, based on published reports, when people asked me whether to take Vioxx or its prime competitor, Celebrex, I told them about Vioxx and its potential danger. Moreover, in a recent column in which I briefly mentioned Cox-2 inhibitors I made sure to use Celebrex as my example. Third, there is no such thing as the "medical community." This was an issue between a drug company and the FDA. Drug companies also have lobbyists. But none of this constituted a community. Fourth, if there were a "medical community" I would have serious problems with it. I believe that while American medical care is superior to that in any socialized system, it is pathetically poor compared to what it should be because the incentives are for doctors to put the emphasis on quantity (more patients) over quality. Doctors are paid by the visit, not the minute. Moreover, they receive no extra pay for keeping up on the latest medical developments. The result is a lot of smart but ignorant physicians who aren't giving their patients the attention they need. I wish I knew how to fix this; I do not. Finally, have you considered turning yourself into a cartoon? Then you, like your thinking, will be two-dimensional.