Hot Air: Bad Science

Lying Liars

This enrages me. Who are/were these scientist/pimps? Let’s call them out and subject them to public ridicule. If they’re still alive. (If not, let’s cross our fingers and hope they’re frying in hell.)

Back in the 1960s, the sugar industry paid scientific researchers to essentially skew studies to show how swell sweet-laden junk food was. One of the ways sugar lobbyists, flacks, greedy CEOs, and their coatholders in Congress and the research community employed to shift bad pub away from sweet stuff was to pin the blame for our body ills on saturated fats. Here’s how the New York Times reported recent findings into that unholy PR campaign:

… [I]nternal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday [September 12, 2016] in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease, including many of today’s dietary recommendations, may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry.

Well, whaddya know?


Health Food

JAMA Internal Medicine, a specialized publication of the American Medical Association, is one of the industry bibles of the sawbones set. The AMA is about as establishment as a gang can be. If the AMA comes down hard on another establishment gang, well, hell, you know the accused must be guilty of the foulest and most blatant deeds.

And the sugar industry sure reeks now.

The sugar gang spread the word that candy and soda pop and every other comestible overflowing with what we now know are hugely addictive -oses were actually good for you and your spawn. At one point, acc’d’g to Wonkette, the sugarists engaged in a startling fiction:

…[C]andy makers were funding studies that claimed that children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who do not.

Wow. What kind of idiots do they think we are/were? (Don’t answer that.)

Wonkette, appropriately editorializes:

Can you even imagine the low obesity rates among children who eat methamphetamine?

It makes me scarlet enough to realize what cheating, lying, manipulative jerks sugar industry nabobs were.  But I have an even hotter rage for the scientists who participated in this disinformation campaign. In this day and age of anti-intellectualism and pooh-poohing of scientific research and knowledge, any hint that our university and industry investigators are playing fast and loose with the truth can only hurt us. Bad.

This sugar business no doubt will serve as ammunition in the know-nothings’ endless campaign against science and facts. Sadly, the know-nothings these days seem to be winning.


Here’s the JAMA Internal Medicine report, cited above.


Click On Image For Full Report

And here’s a list — certainly not comprehensive — of issues we must grapple with these days, and for which we depend on honest scientists to provide dependable, accurate information:

  • General nutrition
  • GMOs
  • Climate change
  • Nuclear weapons proliferation
  • Nuclear energy
  • Renewable energy
  • Drinking water
  • Evolution
  • Vaccines
  • Agricultural production
  • Drug-resistant bacteria
  • Fracking
  • Race
  • Alternative medicine
  • Organics and “natural” foods

Hell, I can go on all day. Suffice it to say our scientists provide us with vital dope that can affect every single aspect of our lives. They’d damned well better not be fudging the facts just to earn a tainted paycheck.

It’s as if we were to discover cops were taking bribes to allow extortionists and cocaine dealers to ply their trades unmolested. Or Congresscritters were raking in bushels of cash from the very industries they are charged with regulating.

Hmm. I suppose scientists are, well…, people, too.


I screwed up big time Sunday, doing something that put me at risk to develop a monster infection had we gone through with surgery yesterday AM. Doc McKeen shook his head as he examined me in the pre-op room, where I’d already been shaved bald, IV’d, and given a dose of heparin.

“It’s a slight chance,” he said, “but we’re going to put a foreign object in your body. If an infection develops, it’ll be rough. It’ll be a long process of recovery. We might even have to go back in there. We can shoot you up with antibiotics but even that might not prevent an infection from developing.”

And with that, he advised me to dress up, put my earring back in, and go home. To that point, I’d been adamant about going through with the operation then and there. I asked him, “What would you do if you were I?”

“I just told you what I would do,” he said. And that was good enough for me.


Staphylococcus Aureus

So, I put my clothes back on and apologized to everyone in the pre-surgery area. I apologized to Doc McKeen. “I hope,” I said, “you weren’t counting on this job to make your mortgage payment for October. If so, you can stay with us.”

He laughed. In fact, everybody told me I shouldn’t apologize. But the truth is I’d felt as though I taken a spot — for naught — that another patient might have needed.

Sometimes I can do a damned fine job of fking up.

In any case, my window to be laid up for a week or two has now closed. By the looks of things, I won’t be able to undergo the surgery until after the first of the year.

My penance? As my body hair grows back in over the next few weeks, I will be miserable. Mea culpa.

Same Old, Same Old

Listening to coverage of the homemade bombs scattered around the NYC area yesterday, I became annoyed as all hell.

Even NPR, a news source I trust more than any other (although I trust it only as far as I can spit), has a template for covering these kinds of events. The textbook questions for the woman and man on the street drive me up a wall.

You know, the old joke about the newspaper reporter asking the couple whose house is going up in flames how they feel about it still holds true in today’s digital age.

The NPR All Things Considered host asked the reporter in New York the following: “You’ve also been talking with New Yorkers today, getting their reactions to all of this. How are people dealing with it?”

That question alone made my hair stand on end. I mean, what possible news value can such a question have? Are New Yorkers all over the metropolitan area leaping out of tall buildings in panic? That’d be news. Are suicide hot lines being flooded by folks in despair? Tell me about it.

But that is not now, nor has it ever been, how people react to terrorism or even bombings in wartime. Naturally, the NPR reporter found nothing noteworthy. Here’s his response:

Well, we spoke with one office worker in Manhattan who works near the explosion site. Her name is Shonda Brown. Here’s what she said: [taped soundbite] “I think that New Yorkers are really resilient. I think that there’s a little bit of close to home of the reality of this, but I think that it’s just moving on, we’ve figured out who it is and the cops caught him. It’s like another day in the life and get on with work.”

Well, of goddamned course! What else would anybody say? The reporter’d get the precise same answer from an office worker in Keokuk, Iowa had the bombing taken place there (along with the wholly predictable “I never thought it’d happen here” addendum.

A few blah-blah-blahs later, the reporter concluded “Life seems to be getting on as normal here in New York.”

Again, of course it is!

Here’s what I want from the news: Tell me what happened. Tell me why. If the perpetrator has been captured, tell me why he did it.


News: Cops Surround The Bombing Suspect

[Image: Ed Murray/AP]

That’s the news. This phony-baloney narrative that has become obligatory after terrorism does me no good. New Yorkers are reeling, check. New Yorkers are coping, check. New Yorkers’ lives are getting back to normal, check.

Checklist journalism. Ick.

I dunno about you, but I can do quite well without bedtime stories that make me feel all is well, so sleep tight, little listener.

I want news.


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