January 2010 Archives

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Does positive thinking lead to positive outcomes?

By Michael Fumento

Recently I wrote a positive review (no pun intended) of Barbara Ehrenreich's book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America for Forbes Online. A reader nevertheless wrote to me: "studies show that optimism leads to more positive outcomes." My response:

No, actually they don't. They find correlation but not causation. Being fat is associated with overreating, but not too many people would argue that being fat causes you to overeat anymore than they would see a cart behind a horse and presume that the cart is pushing the horse forward. I allude to this in my book review.

As far as success and riches go, yes, studies of both individuals and nations do link greater wealth with a more upbeat attitude. But our pathological positivism thrusts the cart squarely before the horse, insisting that attitude leads to circumstances. Evidence that suggests positive attitudes lead to positive results - like cheerier people being more likely to get a job or promotion - could merely reflect societal prejudice against those with negative or merely realistic attitudes, Ehrenreich points out.

Ehrenreich writes of a plenary session on "'The Future of Positive Psychology'" featuring the patriarchs of the discipline, Martin Seligman and Ed Diener. Seligman got the audience's attention by starting off with the statement, 'I've decided my theory of positive psychology is completely wrong.' Why? Because it's about happiness, which is 'scientifically unwieldy.'"

So we're left to consider this logically. And logically circumstances are more likely to dictate attitude than attitude is to dictate circumstances. The connection in the first case is obvious; in the second case you have to provide all sorts of explanations as to why this might be the case.

Now, I have a friend who has a positive attitude despite current very negative circumstances. But why?

Because as he says he's utterly convinced the novel he's completing will be a best-seller notwithstanding that he's never even written a novel before and the objective odds are he won't even get a publisher. But he's factoring a best-seller into his mental attitude.

Unfortunately John Kennedy Toole probably had exactly the same attitude and for the best of reasons. "A Confederacy of Dunces" was a fantastic book. It did in fact become a best-seller. But not before every publisher poor Toole went to rejected it outright and he killed himself. If Toole had a more sanguine attitude he might have gone on to write other books, gotten one of those published, and then gotten publishers to look at the first book. We know of similar examples, as with J.K. Rowling.

I'm sorry, but there's nothing inherently good about positivism and, again as I note in my book review, there are indeed studies showing that pessimists are better able to handle bad news than optimists. All that said, I'm not pushing pessimism per se - although pessimists do serve an important function in society as a brake on the optimists - I'm pushing realism.

January 31, 2010 03:26 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Ponderings

Bin laden joins global warming doomsayers

By Michael Fumento

Apparently oblivious to the amount of carbon dioxide he released into the atmosphere in that nasty little incident in 2001, Osama bin Laden has joined with Al Gore and other warmists to condemn the U.S. as a rogue nation for its alleged contribution to global warming. (The New York Post quipped that he "raised the terror warning level to green.

Alluhu Gaia!

In an audiotape played by Al Jazeera, the al Queda leader warns of the dangers of climate change (If polar bears go extinct, how will he be able to blow any of them up?) and echoing Gore and his ilk called for "drastic solutions" to global warming - "not solutions that partially reduce the effect of climate change," according to the taped message. He declared the world must bring "the wheels of the American economy" to a grinding halt.

"We should stop dealings with the dollar and get rid of it as soon as possible," bin Laden said. "I know that this has great consequences and grave ramifications, but it is the only means to liberate humanity from slavery and dependence on America." Bin Laden also blamed the U.S. for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol - notwithstanding that almost no nation that did sign it actually abided by it.

Al Gore was unavailable for comment. Hah!

(Thanks to Jaime Arbona for the photoshopping. Alas, yes, it was photoshopped.)

January 30, 2010 06:12 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment

John Stossel salutes my swine flu work

By Michael Fumento

[Herewith his blog for Fox Business, titled "Swine Flu Hysteria." I agree with him about the pharmaceutical companies. As I've written elsewhere, in addition to the usual bureaucratic desire for growth in power and budget, the WHO was seeking to cover its tracks for an earlier hysteria - that of avian flu. Moreover, it has been remarkably open (Even if I'm the only one to report on it) about seeking to exploit swine flu to engineer hard-left political change including the redistribution of wealth between countries and instituting "social justice."]

Stossel wearing my former mustache

"The Official Word to All, Get a Swine Flu Vaccination Now" was the New York Times headline earlier this month. That followed months of headlines like:

"Swine flu has killed 540 kids, sickened 22 million Americans" (USA Today)

"U.S. prepares for possible swine flu epidemic as global cases rise" (CNN)

But Michael Fumento writes that the facts on swine flu hardly live up to the months of hype.

Hidden within the latest edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
FluView was this sentence: "The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold"...

You may recall all those additional deaths we were supposed to suffer as a result of swine flu - 30,000 to 90,000, according to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (a number I previously disputed)...

But like New Zealand and Australia, the United States can actually expect considerably fewer overall flu deaths because of the swine flu...

Only 161 new infections were reported to CDC-monitored labs last week, compared to 11,470 at the epidemic's mid-October peak.

One reason that there are fewer deaths - a reason little reported by the overheated media -- is that most swine flu is milder than seasonal flu. The Council of Europe now wants an investigation of the United Nation's World Health Organization. It claims WHO, in league with pharmaceutical companies, declared swine flu a pandemic to sell vaccine. The WHO denies the accusation, saying the pandemic is not over.

I doubt that WHO bureaucrats hype swine flu to promote pharmaceutical companies. I suspect that they do it because it inflates their self-worth.

After all the media coverage, scaring us to death, now we'll see if there are stories that inform us of how deadly swine flu really turned out to be.

January 30, 2010 05:32 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Why Scientific Arguments Don't Go Very Far Anymore

By Michael Fumento

Do vaccines cause autism? Here's your answer.

Jenny McCarthy, by virtue of being a former Playboy Playmate who claims her son had autism but that she personally cured him, has been anointed an expert by the media as evidenced by appearances on such shows as Oprah, ABC's 20/20, and Good Morning America. Typical of her evidence was her appearance on Larry King Live in which she countered three knowledgeable physicians with "Bullshit!" immediately followed by "My son died in front of me from a vaccine injury!" (Yes, it's on YouTube.)

A stunned King asked what or who she was talking about, whereupon she admitted he was actually alive. This woman to many Americans - including the newsmakers - has more authority than every medical journal in print or every scientific panel that's ever met.

January 30, 2010 05:07 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media

Flu Report Jan. 29 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing

By Michael Fumento

Deaths down, hospitalizations down, infections reported to CDC-surveillance labs down. Again the usual disclaimer that this probably represents a time lag in reporting and this are probably all actually the same as the week before.

The only aspect of interest again is that of 164 positive samples those labs have received, only two clearly were not swine flu. So here we are, approaching what is the peak of the annual flu season (mid-February) and it does appear that, as was the case in Australia and New Zealand, the milder swine flu has simply brushed aside the far deadlier seasonal flu. In essence, swine flu has become our seasonal flu. And a lot fewer of us are going to die this year as a result.

January 29, 2010 05:36 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

WHO swine flu chief caught on video lying about pre-fab pandemic

By Michael Fumento

Even before the World Health Organization declared its phony pandemic last summer, its designated fibber-in-chief has been Keiji Fukuda. Yet I've never been able to catch him a lie so explicit that he couldn't somehow worm out of it. Till now.

Thus when he said (and still does), the virus may be mild now but it could mutate to become worse I would point out that this would be the first time a flu virus has suddenly changed course like that. But technically he was right. Finally, I've caught him with his nose stretched out three feet long - and on a vital issue.

As I pointed out upon the WHO's pandemic declaration in June, the previous definition required "enormous numbers of deaths." But the agency desperately wanted a pandemic and swine flu, vastly milder than ordinary flu, clearly didn't fit. So they simply penned a new definition to match swine flu, making deaths irrelevant and explicitly declaring "mild" strains would qualify.

Since flu always strikes throughout the world, the only reasonable distinction between a normal year and a pandemic year is severity. So clearly this was politically motivated, and I've addressed those motivations. They include everything from power grabbing and money grubbing to a hard left agenda of redistributing wealth and instituting "social justice."

Now the WHO is defending itself against charges of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that it created a "false pandemic" in "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century." To which the WHO disingenuously responds that it is a real pandemic - by its fresh and nonsensical interpretation.

But the WHO can't change what the old definition said. At the PACE hearing, though, Fukuda boldly told the assembled experts, reporters, and, yes, cameramen: "Having severe deaths has never been part of the WHO definition."

Here's a snapshot of the WHO definition, also viewable at the agency's Web site, at the very time swine flu broke out.

who-pandemic-definition-2005

Moreover, at a "virtual press conference" ten days earlier, he stated:"Did WHO change its definition of a pandemic? The answer is no, WHO did not change its definition." The man is an arrogant lying machine.

First WHO Director-General Margaret Chan needs to fire Fukuda. And then she needs to fire herself.

January 29, 2010 05:00 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Brit M.D. who tied MMR vaccine to autism acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly"

By Michael Fumento

The doctor who first suggested a link between MMR vaccinations and autism - and subsequently made rates of measles and other skyrocket - acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in doing his research for a landmark 1998 Lancet paper, says Britain's official General Medical Counsel.

Measles in the U.K. are skyrocketing

During over two years of hearings Andrew Wakefield was accused of a series of charges, including that he didn't have ethical approval or relevant qualifications for such tests, he improperly gathered blood samples (paying children 5 pounds each for the samples at his son's birthday party), and (here's the kicker) not disclosing that he had been paid to advise lawyers acting for parents who believed their children had been harmed by the MMR.

The GMC also declared two of Wakefield's former colleagues at the hospital where he worked had also broken the guidelines.

In 2004, 10 of the 12 co-authors of Wakefield's paper issued a retraction.

The board didn't look into accusations that Wakefield had outright faked his data, yet a 2009 Sunday Times investigation, confirming evidence presented to the GMC, revealed that:

In most of the 12 cases, the children's ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.

But the damage has been done. After Wakefield's study appeared, new anti-vaccination groups popped up like toadstools after rain. (There are now over 150 anti-vaccine Web sites.) Older ones such as the National Vaccine Information Center were reinvigorated. This in turn caused surges in cases of all three viral diseases, each of which is highly infectious and potentially fatal.

This notwithstanding an absolute mountain of evidence that the MMR vaccine and other childhood vaccines (all under fire) are safe. Some of the epidemiological evidence for this comes from whole countries and one body of evidence includes the entire state of California. I have written repeatedly about this problem.

Measles, mumps, pertussis, and other illnesses are on the rise. The accompanying graph shows U.K. measles cases going from nearly zero to close to 1,500 in just the past four years. Not all children need be vaccinated to prevent any disease, but there need to be enough to maintain "herd immunity" or around a 95 percent rate depending on the specific disease. In many areas, rates have fallen well below that level. The ferocious anti-vaccine lobby (and if you think I'm kidding about the ferocity, you should check out my hate mail on the subject) is literally killing our children.

Because vaccines are so effective, people don't remember these diseases and how they would kill. But we're being forced to relearn.

January 29, 2010 03:48 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Vaccines

Cold, bitter winter is "proof" of global warming

By Michael Fumento

"Winter offered as proof of warming" declares a headline in the print edition of the Washington Post, although perhaps the irony of that later struck the editors and they softened it a bit in the online edition to "Harsh winter a sign of disruptive climate change, report says."poll

Nothing especially outrageous here. The enviros have been doing this for years; indeed, it's why they adopted the term "global climate change" so that any change in climate or even just weather - which obviously this is - can be portrayed as a result of man's nefarious activities in putting greenhouse gases into the air. The report, incidentally, is from the National Wildlife Federation that makes money by promoting global warming in the same way that GM makes money selling trucks.

But folks are having trouble buying it. A poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked respondents to rank 21 issues in terms of priority. Global warming came in dead last. It's come in last before, but this time just 28 percent of those surveyed list global warming as a top priority, down from 35 percent in 2008.

Flu expert slams WHO pandemic panic-mongering in German magazine interview

By Michael Fumento

I missed this interview when it came out in the German magazine Der Spiegel in July, but it's still relevant. Unfortunately, even though the interview subject Tom Jefferson of the esteemed Cochrane Collaboration is an American, you're not going to find anything like this in a U.S. publication. Our media bought into the scare lock, stock, and virion and they're not going to admit they were wrong. Herewith some excerpts.

Thomas Jefferson

SPIEGEL: Do you consider the swine flu to be particularly worrisome?

Jefferson : It's true that influenza viruses are unpredictable, so it does call for a certain degree of caution. But one of the extraordinary features of this influenza - and the whole influenza saga - is that there are some people who make predictions year after year, and they get worse and worse. None of them so far have come about, and these people are still there making these predictions. For example, what happened with the bird flu, which was supposed to kill us all? Nothing. But that doesn't stop these people from always making their predictions. Sometimes you get the feeling that there is a whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur.

SPIEGEL: Who do you mean? The World Health Organization (WHO)?

Jefferson: The WHO and public health officials, virologists and the pharmaceutical companies. They've built this machine around the impending pandemic. And there's a lot of money involved, and influence, and careers, and entire institutions! And all it took was one of these influenza viruses to mutate to start the machine grinding.

SPIEGEL: Do you think the WHO declared a pandemic prematurely?

Jefferson: Don't you think there's something noteworthy about the fact that the WHO has changed its definition of pandemic? The old definition was a new virus, which went around quickly, for which you didn't have immunity, and which created a high morbidity and mortality rate. Now the last two have been dropped, and that's how swine flu has been categorized as a pandemic.

January 27, 2010 06:54 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu

"The Hole in the EPA's Ozone Claims," my piece in Forbes Online

By Michael Fumento

To the EPA, "safe" is a constantly moving target - and that's the way it likes it. Always something new to regulate, always a new hobgoblin from which to save us. Take the agency's proposal to yet again lower allowable ozone levels. It's another one of those win-win regulations for which the EPA is famous, supposedly saving both lives and money. But its assertions collapse when you examine the science on which they're allegedly based.

Tightening the screws

U.S. ground-level ozone concentrations have fallen by 25% since 1980 and 14% just since 1990. Yet in 1997 the EPA tightened the screws with what it called a "safe" standard at 80 parts per billion (ppb). Then in 2008 "safe" became 75 ppb. Now the agency insists "safe" is a maximum of between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. No doubt the agency is already laying the groundwork to drop the "safe" level yet again.

Read about the EPA's mighty effort to take us to pollution levels so low that giant national parks will nonetheless be above the allowable limit, in my article "The Hole in the EPA's Ozone Claims" in Forbes Online.

January 26, 2010 09:16 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment

Environmentalist confessions

By Michael Fumento

A question to Slate's "Green Lantern" environmental adviser:

"Oh, and I also ate non-organic food..."

Instead of glasses, I wear contact lenses. This means throwing out scraps of plastic (as well as their packaging) every two weeks, in addition to using cleaning fluid (which comes in plastic containers) and plastic lens cases. How much better would it be for the planet if I switched to glasses?

The response goes on for 10 paragraphs, essentially concluding "Don't worry about it." A better response: "Give me a break!"

Or how about this, "Say five 'Our Gaias'" and go forth and sin no more.

January 26, 2010 09:34 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment

WHO squealing like a pig over charges it fabricated the flu "pandemic"

By Michael Fumento

The WHO has suddenly gone from a cackling Chicken Little crying "The Sky is Falling!" to squealing like a stuck pig, in response to charges (such as I've been making since day one) that it fabricated a pandemic. "The world is going through a real pandemic. The description of it as a fake is wrong and irresponsible," the agency claims on its website.

A WHO spokesman declined to spell out whom the World Health Organization was responding to in its statement, saying merely that "this applies to anyone who believes it is not a real pandemic."

But as I've previously noted, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, described as a "human rights watchdog" recently recommended that the European Union investigate WHO's swine flu pandemic declaration to see if the health agency acted under undue influence. Indeed, the chairman of its influential health committee, who is an epidemiologist, has referred to what he calls the "false pandemic" as "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century."

To be sure, swine flu has proved to be vastly milder than ordinary seasonal flu. And in fact we knew that (and I wrote about it) before the WHO ever made its pandemic declaration. Yet spokesman Gregory Hartl told the AP this was irrelevant, because "A pandemic has nothing to do with severity or number of deaths," rather it just means a global spread of a disease."

But as I've written, that's only because the WHO changed the definition of "flu pandemic." "A previous official definition (and widely used unofficial one)," I noted, "required 'simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.' Severity - that is, the number - is crucial, because seasonal flu always causes worldwide simultaneous epidemics.

But in May, in what it admitted was a direct response to the outbreak of swine flu the month before, it promulgated a new definition that simply eliminated severity as a factor.

They're saying "We weren't caught with our hands in the cookie jar because we labeled those Oreos 'rocks.'"

Why? The initial reason is that this is the same WHO that for five years screamed that the sky was falling over avian flu - again even as people like me said it was nonsense. So when swine flu came along, they seized the opportunity to scratch out "avian" and insert "swine." Add to that the obvious incentives for budget-enhancing and power grabbing. But bizarrely enough, the WHO even saw the chance for economic and social engineering.

In a September speech WHO Director-General Chan said "ministers of health" should take advantage of the "devastating impact" swine flu will have on poorer nations to tell "heads of state and ministers of finance, tourism and trade" that:

  • The belief that "living conditions and health status of the poor would somehow automatically improve as countries modernized, liberalized their trade and improved their economies" is false. Wealth doesn't equal health.
  • "Changes in the functioning of the global economy" are needed to "distribute wealth on the basis of" values "like community, solidarity, equity and social justice."
  • "The international policies and systems that govern financial markets, economies, commerce, trade and foreign affairs have not operated with fairness as an explicit policy objective."

    This is no longer a health agency, it views its function as agit-prop. It's time to start over with people who see disease as something to combat, not to exploit.

    January 25, 2010 06:12 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    More dirt in the IPCC melting Himalayas scandal

    By Michael Fumento

    In an update to my blog on the alleged melting of the glaciers atop the Himalayas (and imminent extinction of the yeti), the scientist behind the bogus claim in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report claiming the Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

    Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

    In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the coordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action."

    The claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 relied on magazine interviews with glaciologist Syed Hasnain, which were then recycled into a 2005 report by the warmist World Wildlife Fund. Lal and his team then cited this as their source.

    Moreover, the WWF article also contained a arithmetic error. A claim that one glacier was retreating at the alarming rate of 134 meters a year should in fact have said 23 meters – the authors had divided the total loss measured over 121 years by 21, not 121, said the newspaper.

    As to the 2035 melting date, it "seems to have been plucked from thin air."

    Which is only right, considering how very thin the air is atop the Himalayas.

    January 25, 2010 04:16 PM  ·  Permalink  · 

    Flu Watch Jan. 24, 2010 - Swine flu appears to be sweeping aside seasonal flu

    By Michael Fumento

    Reported infections, deaths, hospitalizations all down. Again, though, when adjusted for the time lag they were probably the same as last week. The only thing that still interests me is the percentage of non-swine flu infections. That's because, as I've noted, in countries like Australia and New Zealand, swine flu simply swept the seasonal flu aside. The result was a tremendous reduction in flu deaths as the milder swine flu inoculated people against the deadlier seasonal flu.

    CAPTION

    I repeatedly predicted we would see the same here and again this week we see evidence of that. Of the infections reported to the CDC labs last week, only four were clearly not swine flu. And here we are in mid-January, approaching what is normally the peak of seasonal flu season (mid-February).

    Here's a report from the Jan. 20 Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    "In ordinary years, the first seasonal flu cases typically show up in December and start mounting in January, said Richard Danila, deputy state epidemiologist. But so far, "there's been virtually zero" confirmed cases of seasonal influenza, he said. 'It's really surprising.'" [Ahem! It wouldn't be if he'd been reading my material!]

    Danila said he's never seen seasonal flu wait this long to make an appearance, adding: "But no one's willing to say that it won't come."

    Flu experts speculate the H1N1 virus may end up wiping out other strains of flu, in classic Darwinian fashion.

    "Seasonal flu didn't find a niche and still hasn't found a niche yet of susceptible people," Danila said.

    January 24, 2010 11:00 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    Darn! No more "Blessed be the snipers . . ."

    By Michael Fumento

    A gunsight maker that imprinted Bible verse numbers on its scopes has announced that it will no longer do so, and will also provide clients with the kits to remove the Bible verse numbers from existing scopes.

    The Michigan-based company, which has a contract to provide up to 800,000 scopes to the U.S. military and provides them to the militaries of other nations as well, prints references to New Testament chapters and verses in code next to the model numbers of its scopes. But it's caused an uproar among Muslim organizations and advocacy groups for the separation of church and state. Said the leader of one of the latter, "It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they're being shot by Jesus rifles."

    Well, okay. But where were all these people when in both world wars German soldiers wore belt buckles imprinted with "Gott mit uns" (God is with us)?

    January 22, 2010 10:45 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Fun ~ Humor

    IPCC: "Our bad! Global warming not about to melt Himalayas."

    By Michael Fumento

    "The glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, a large number of them may disappear by 2035 because of climate change." Such was the lede of one of countless articles about how 1.3 billion Asians were in imminent danger of first flooding and then drought. And that's not to mention the certain extinction of the abominable snowman.

    He's safe!

    You didn't need a Cray computer to figure that this was nonsense, that temperatures would have to more or less instantly soar to incredible heights and stay there for this to happen. (As it turns out, 18 degrees Centigrade.) But people wrote it, read it, and believed it. You'd think a magazine with the name Technology Review would know better, yet its latest issue declares: "The Himalayan glaciers that feed rivers in India, China, and other Asian countries could be gone in 25 years."

    Why did they say it? In part, because it was convenient. And in part because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said it in its Fourth Assessment Report (2007). Now the IPCC is saying, "Whoopsie!"

    In a statement released on Wednesday, the group admitted "poorly substantiated estimates." More specifically, it appears to have been based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published in 1999. That story, in turn, was based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist in Delhi. And Hasnain has since admitted his assertion "speculation" unsupported by any formal research.

    The IPCC says it will "probably" issue a formal correction. "Probably?"

    But admit it guys, wasn't it fun while it lasted?

    January 21, 2010 05:48 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

    Trust me! I found it on the Internet!

    By Michael Fumento

    It may be true that everything is on the Internet, but good researchers have to beware. Here's a nice example. For a piece I'm writing on the plastic hardening chemical BPA I wanted to find out how much is produced annually in this country. Here's what the top hits produced:

    1. Sep 16, 2008 ... BPA has been cited as a component of plastic baby bottles. Over 2.2 million tons is produced each year and resides in the majority of people ...
    www.injuryboard.com/.../study-confirms-human-health---bpa-plastic-link.aspx?... –

    2. BPA Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease

    Jan 13, 2010 ... Manufacturers have used BPA for years to make plastics and resins. More than six millions tons of the chemical are produced each year and ...
    www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/01/bpa_study.html - Cached -

    3. Bisphenol-A In Plastic Packaging & Products Is Highly Dangerous

    US - Many studies have concluded that exposure to Bisphenol A can be fatal, ... There are approximately 2-3 million tonnes of it produced each year for use ...
    www.blatantnews.com/.../bisphenol_a_in_plastic_packaging_and_products_is_highly_dangerous.html - Cached -

    4. Numbers: Plastics, From Manufacturing to Recycling to Long Death ...

    Oct 21, 2009 ... Four million tons of BPA are produced each year. A National Toxicology Program report (PDF) released last fall said there was “some concern” ...
    discovermagazine.com/.../21-numbers-plastics-manufacturing-recycling-death-landfill - Cached

    So when they say it causes heart disease or "is highly dangerous" just how accurate is that?

    (I think I'd better pick up the phone and call somebody!)

    January 21, 2010 10:06 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media

    Why does everybody think BPA is safe but us?

    By Michael Fumento

    Regarding the ubiquitous plastic ingredient bisphenol A (BPA), my colleague Angela Logomasini blogged that "The greens are rejoicing today because the Food and Drug Administration has softened its stance on the safety of" the chemical and gave some reasons why it's folly. But here's what I find striking.

    In 2006 the European Union's Food Safety Authority conducted a risk assessment focusing on the threat to infants. It ultimately raised the Tolerable Daily Intake by a factor of five, which is to say it found BPA much safer than was first believed. Mind you, this is the same EU that has placed advisory warnings on cell phones and whose residents run in terror at the sight of a grain of genetically modified corn.

    Two years later the EU conducted an update and as Trevor Butterworth of STATS has documented, since then there's been:

    - A review by Japans National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (2007)
    - An examination of claims of neurotoxicity by the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (2008)
    - An evaluation by the French Food Safety Agency (2008)
    - A risk assessment by NSF International, a World Health Organization collaborative center (2008)
    - A review of new data by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (2008)
    - A survey of canned drink products by Health Canada (2009)
    - A risk assessment by Food Standards Australia/New Zealand (2009)
    - A modeling study of BPA in humans by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (2009).

    None of these prompted any warnings or restrictions on BPA use.

    There's only one conclusion to draw from all this folks. Apparently Americans are uniquely vulnerable to the horrors of BPA. But (pssst . . . ) don't try telling that to a geneticist.

    January 20, 2010 11:05 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Chemophobia

    Sorry, no RIP yet for the health care reform legislation

    By Michael Fumento

    It's fine to celebrate the Massachusetts victory of Scott Brown. I like how Daily Show host Jon Stewart put it: "The Kennedy legacy goes down to a naked guy who owns a truck." (He once posed for Cosmopolitan.)

    But remember from civics class that the legislation only need 51 votes to pass (technically 50, with Biden as tie-braker) and all Brown's win does is allow a filibuster with one vote to spare. And as the Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein writes today:

    There is very little in the latest version of the health-care bill that Maine's two Republican senators haven't supported in the past or couldn't support in the future. In succumbing to the intense social and political pressure from their caucus, both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins flunked the leadership test last year. Massachusetts has now given them a second chance to redeem their reputations and political fortunes in a state that has always valued independence over party loyalty.

    So here's to the naked truckdriver, but we need to continue to get the word out on the need for health care reform but the terrible problems with the legislation that the Democrats are trying to foist upon us.

    January 20, 2010 10:29 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Health Care

    More swine flu hysteria apologism - "a stunning public health success"

    By Michael Fumento

    In response to my Philadelphia Inquirer piece "Swine Flu Epidemic Ends with a Whimper," predictably public health community members have squealed that the only reason the disease proved so mild is because of their own Herculean efforts. I saw the same thing with heterosexual AIDS and SARS. So it was that Steven J. Barrer, M.D. wrote to the newspaper:

    Michael Fumento's assertion that the swine flu epidemic predicted for this flu season was a medical scandal ignores the enormous effort of the country's public-health sector to mitigate the potential seriousness of this disease.

    Vaccine production was accelerated, public education was aggressive, and awareness was heightened worldwide. Every physician I know made an effort to educate patients. Fumento also belittles simple efforts such as hand sanitizer, but that, and frequent hand-washing, muffling sneezes in your arm rather than hand, and minimizing casual physical contact, are widely credited with reducing the spread of contagious disease.

    They are among the efforts hospitals are using, successfully, to reduce their infection rates.

    Diseases don't go away. We just get better at dealing with them. I consider the mildness of this flu season a stunning public-health success.

    Yet as my piece noted the epidemic peaked in mid-October, before anybody was vaccinated. It also observed that Australia and New Zealand had remarkably mild epidemics that ended before any vaccine was available.

    Hand sanitizer and handwashing appears to have no impact on the spread of flu, as this article discusses. I found a recent medical journal article claiming to show that it does help, but when you actually look at their data you see they provided good evidence that it does not. If that's the best they can do, it tells you something.

    Handwashing was basically thrown at the public as a talisman and because, lacking a vaccine, the public health community and especially the CDC felt it had to offer something for the public to do, even if it was worthless. (Also, handwashing does protect against colds and food poisoning.)

    In light of this, it's hard to see how mealy-mouthed terms like "aggressiveness" and "awareness" played any role. The simple fact, as I took great pains to note, is that swine flu has a vastly milder impact on the immune system than seasonal flu. I've even explained why, that we've been exposed to H1N1 viruses as part of the seasonal flu since 1997. That also explains why children are disproportionately affected. Where did I first write this? In the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    So that's it. End of ball game. The WHO knew the score when it declared its pandemic. And doctors like Barrer could have known this because they had access to the same medical literature that I had access to in which fatality rates were compared - and he had access to my previous Philly Inquirer piece that also discussed these rates. I did Barrer's research for him.

    Finally, diseases obviously do just go away. Every year, in countries with or with flu vaccine, in times before vaccines existed, influenza has struck, crested, and then faded away. What did medical science do to make the Spanish flu disappear in 1919?

    Public health has done many wonderful things in this country. How much do you worry about smallpox, malaria, tuberculosis, yellow fever, or any number of other diseases that used to sweep through this country periodically like a scythe? But the swine flu hoax is a serious black eye - as was hetero AIDS, SARS, and most recently avian flu - and no amount of wriggling and rationalization will change that.

    January 19, 2010 12:05 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    "Swine Flu Epidemic ends with a Whimper," my Philly Inquirer piece

    By Michael Fumento

    Hidden within the latest edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's FluView was this sentence: "The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold."

    That's right: The great American swine flu epidemic - which led to two proclaimed national emergencies and thousands of spooky news stories - has ended with a whimper.

    Read about it in my new Philadelphia Inquirer article.

    January 15, 2010 06:29 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    Flu Watch Jan. 14 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing this week

    By Michael Fumento

    Infections are down, hospitalizations are down and deaths are the same. But given the reporting time lag it should prove that these were all about the same as last week. Last week one state reported widespread flu, this week none do. As I've written, we're now at an endemic stage where cases pretty much trot along at the same pace. Again, it might pick up some in February because that's when it gets coldest and flu, unlike your humble blogger, loves cold weather.

    "I'm just plumb tuckered out!"

    Only 1.4% of infections reported were clearly not swine flu, indicating that so far, as I've reported has been the case in Australia and New Zealand, swine flu is muscling aside the deadlier seasonal flu strains - and hence will make for a light flu season.

    The CDC has also released a new estimate of infections and deaths, namely 55 million and 11,161 respectively since last April. That keeps the death rate about about 1 per 5,000 or a third to a tenth that of seasonal flu. Meanwhile the World Health Organization is defending itself against charges that it created a phony pandemic, including using the predictable line that one reason the flu has proved so mild is because the WHO did such a splendid job! I address that lunacy elsewhere.

    It's getting kind of dull in here, folks. So I'm discontinuing the weekly watch but I will keep blogging and otherwise writing on the faux pandemic.

    January 15, 2010 04:48 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    Gag me. Public health establishment takes credit for mildness of swine flu season

    By Michael Fumento

    Inevitably when pandemic doom fails to pan out, whether it be heterosexual AIDS, SARS, avian flu, or anything else the public health establishment that panicked everyone will claim that the only reason their predictions didn't prevail was fast action on their part. So it was inevitable with swine flu, as we're told in an article with the sub-headline: "If You Warn of An H1N1 Epidemic But Stop It, Do You Get Credit?"

    Professor Robert Field of the Drexel University School of Public Health tells ABC News online that his poor fellows were, as the piece put it, "damned if they do and damned if they don't." According to the story, with the subtitle of "Public health officials faced a tough choice in May and June," "to some extent, we may be seeing a milder epidemic than we feared because of the vaccine and other measures people are taking" says Field.

    Pouring on the unmitigated gall, he added: "It's so easy to be a victim of your own success."

    As they say in The Valley, "Gag me with a spoon!" As I've written, the epidemic here peaked in mid-October. Nobody had vaccine immunity in this country then. Nobody. Australia and New Zealand had incredibly mild flu seasons even though almost all of the flu was of the H1N1 swine variety and there was no vaccine even available until the seasons ended. Even now, relatively few Americans have gotten the shot and according to news accounts they're not going to. More and more are claiming they've been bamboozled.

    Moreover, there were people in May and June who relayed evidence that swine flu was proving to be extremely mild. Well, there was one person at least. Me.

    My first published article on the subject, with the telling title "The Price of a Porcine Panic," appeared June 1. I said it would ridiculous for the WHO to declare a pandemic, and as soon as it did I wrote why it had been ridiculous. It was obviously milder than seasonal flu, when heretofore flu pandemics were defined by extreme severity.

    Later on, as the data, came in, I documented how vastly milder swine flu was. This was before the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology made its incredible prediction of 30,000 to 90,000 deaths.

    No, the public health establishment bungled at best and lied at worst. I've written 14 articles at countless blogs about it. Don't let them off the hook this time.

    January 12, 2010 06:23 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    Yes, Chris Mooney really is dishonest.

    By Michael Fumento

    You've heard of pseudoscience, of course. Well, Chris Mooney is a pseudoscientific writer. He twists and bends and remolds data any way he can to come to the "proper" conclusion.

    "Yeah, I kinda make 'em up as I go along!"

    Among his works, a book called "The Republican War on Science." It was actually just a criticism of anything Mooney doesn't like, portrayed as if emanating from the GOP. Another work of his was the 2007 book "Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle Over Global Warming."

    Yes, it was another argument that clearly global warming was leading to an increased number of hurricanes and intensity of hurricanes, a thesis I had criticized two years earlier when the whole thing erupted in the wake of Rita and Katrina. Pseudoscientists and pseudoscientist writers had built a whole thesis around a grand total of two data points, rather like looking at two stars in the sky and seeing the outline of Marilyn Monroe.

    Well, the years went by and the 2005 season proved to be a total anomaly. Indeed, by the end of the 2009 season hurricane activity was at a 30 year low. I blogged on this and then later had a piece in Forbes Online.

    Mooney, who has a blog sponsored by global warming cheerleader Discover Magazine, smirked and smiled about my blog rather than wait for the full evidence in my piece. I, in turn, thought he had seen the whole piece and on that basis interpreted his response as dishonest. Upon realizing my error, I apologized and told him I'd give him a chance to respond to the actual article that would indeed show hurricane activity was at a 30-year low.

    Rather than wait, he presented a chart he claimed refuted my assertion. Problem is, as you can see here, his data effectively ended with 2008. I didn't say 2008 was a 30-year low, I said 2009.

    When I the article appeared I provided the hyperlink on his blog and asked for a response.

    None. "The silence was deafening," as they say. Mooney had titled his original blog "Fumento swings . . . and misses." Now it was clear that Mighty Mooney had struck out.

    My apologies for apologizing. Yes, Chris Mooney is dishonest.

    January 8, 2010 07:49 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

    Flu Watch Jan. 8 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing this week

    By Michael Fumento

    These things just keep getting briefer and briefer. Infections down, deaths down to only 14, states with widespread activity: just one.

    Updating you on an earlier blog, the chairman of the influential health committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has asked the body to investigate what he calls the WHO's "false pandemic." An epidemiologist no less, he calls it "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century."

    You heard it here first, folks!

    January 8, 2010 06:37 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    Positively bad thinking

    By Michael Fumento

    "Anybody who ever built an empire, or changed the world, sat where you are now," says George Clooney's "termination engineer" to just-fired employees in the comedy Up in the Air. Satire? Hardly. "We Got Fired! ... And It's the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Us!" declares one book title. There's a cottage industry built around convincing canned workers that they just won the lottery.

    A whole chapter is devoted to it in Barbara Ehrenreich's brilliant expose of our smiley-faced culture in Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. It's "an ideological force in American culture," she says, "that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate."

    Read my Forbes Online review of Ehrenreich's provocative and powerful book.

    January 6, 2010 12:54 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  psychology

    "Was Swine Flu a False Pandemic?"

    By Michael Fumento

    No, that's not Michael Fumento asking. It's a pharmaceutical industry blog declaring, "That's the contention by more than a dozen members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which reportedly plans to conduct an inquiry into the influence that drug makers may have had on the World Health Organization, scientists and governments. A resolution was introduced last month by Wolfgang Wodarg, a member of Germany's Social Democratic Party who chairs the Parliamentary health committee."

    I won't weigh in on the secondary question. Lots of people had a hand in pushing a pandemic. But it remains that the World Health Organization was given and took upon itself sole authority to actually declare the pandemic. That's where initial attention should be focused. They rewrote the definition so that they could declare what was clearly a very mild strain of flu to be the first pandemic in 40 years, causing a cascade of events that haunts us still and will do so long into the future. They need to be called to account.

    January 4, 2010 08:12 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

    Flu Watch Dec. 30 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing

    By Michael Fumento

    It's a holiday so we'll make this quick.

    Somehow hospitalizations and deaths managed to keep falling.
    Infections have somehow managed to drop again as have deaths and hospitalizations. Just 15 deaths reported this past week, versus 257 a week for seasonal flu during the season. Only four states reported widespread flu activity. Early January is when seasonal flu normally really gets going so we might see something of a bounce up in the next couple of weeks, especially since at 15 deaths there's nowhere to go but up. But it shouldn't be by much. Swine flu came in 2009 like a piglet and went out like a piglet.

    January 2, 2010 11:40 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu