Monday, November 29, 2010

Airport Scanners Are Dangerous; TSA Agents Can Now Unionize; 13,000 Square Miles of Alaska Set Aside; Chamber of Commerce SWAT Teams?; More Obama Health Law Woes

Newsmax reveals: A group of scientists and professors from the University of California at San Francisco voiced their concern to Obama’s science and technology adviser John Holdren in a well-stated letter back in April.
The group included experts in radiation biology, biophysics, and imaging, who expressed “serious concerns” about the “dangerously high” dose of radiation to the skin.
In a Newsmax exclusive, nationally recognized neurosurgeon and author Dr. Russell Blaylock describes how the latest generation of airport scanners pose grave risks to skin, blood cells and organs like the eyes. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are at especially serious risk from the scanning machines that hundreds of thousands of travelers will pass through during the holidays.
One of the main concerns is that most of the energy from the airport scanners is concentrated on the surface of the skin and a few millimeters into the skin. Some very radiation-sensitive tissues are close to the skin — such as the testes, eyes, and circulating blood cells in the skin.
As we grow older, our DNA accumulates a considerable amount of unrepaired damage, and under such circumstances even low doses of radiation can trigger the development of skin cancers, including the deadly melanoma. I would also be concerned about exposing the eyes, since this could increase one’s risk of developing cataracts. 
From Glen Beck: Remember when the progressive left complained non-stop about warrantless wiretaps and the Patriot Act? It seems they no longer fear government overreaches because the same people who were screaming are now cheering on the new TSA procedures. One possible reason? The TSA recently won the right to unionize, and the AFL-CIO is running to the defense of TSA agents who are getting lots of heat. Was this a ploy by the unions?  And:
Glenn spoke today with the traveler who captured the video of TSA patting down a shirtless boy. Even more shocking than the video itself is the fact that, according to the caller, a 'man in a black suit' approached him and attempted to get him to delete the video. Fortunately the caller did not back down and America got to see what is actually going on. But now, the TSA is claiming that the story is untrue. 
Newsmax reports: (AP) — The Obama administration is setting aside 187,000 square miles in Alaska as a "critical habitat" for polar bears, an action that could add restrictions to future offshore drilling for oil and gas.
The total, which includes large areas of sea ice off the Alaska coast, is about 13,000 square miles, or 8.3 million acres, less than in a preliminary plan released last year.
Tom Strickland, assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, said the designation would help polar bears stave off extinction, recognizing that the greatest threat is the melting of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change.
Michael Gerson opines: For some, the solution is to lay the blame on President Obama. He hasn't been liberal enough. He can't communicate. "I cannot recall a president," Robert Kuttner says in the Huffington Post, "who generated so much excitement as a candidate but who turned out to be such a political dud as a chief executive." Obama is "fast becoming more albatross than ally."
This is an ideological movement at its most cynical, attempting to throw overboard its once-revered leader to avoid the taint of his problems.
But there is an alternative narrative, developed by those who can't shake their reverence for Obama. If a president of this quality and insight has failed, it must be because his opponents are uniquely evil, coordinated and effective. The problem is not Obama but the ruthless conspiracy against him.
So Matt Yglesias warns the White House to be prepared for "deliberate economic sabotage" from the GOP - as though Chamber of Commerce SWAT teams, no doubt funded by foreigners, are preparing attacks on the electrical grid. Paul Krugman contends that "Republicans want the economy to stay weak as long as there's a Democrat in the White House." Steve Benen explains, "We're talking about a major political party . . . possibly undermining the strength of the country - on purpose, in public, without apology or shame - for no other reason than to give themselves a campaign advantage in 2012." Benen's posting was titled "None Dare Call it Sabotage."
So what is the proof of this charge? It seems to have something to do with Republicans criticizing quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve. And opposing federal spending. And, according to Benen, creating "massive economic uncertainty by vowing to gut the national health care system."
One is tempted to respond that it is $1 trillion in new debt, the prospect of higher taxes and a complicated, disruptive health-reform law that have created "massive economic uncertainty." For the purposes of this argument, however, it is sufficient to say that all these economic policy debates have two sides.
A Wall St. Journal blog opines: One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.
The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.
The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.
From the Washington Post: Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you're a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks.
How about a checkup from geriatric specialist Michael Trahos? Expect to see him every six months: The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly. Still, at least he'll see you. Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the District's Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients.
"It's not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don't stay in business," she said.
Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) slammed international whistleblower WikiLeaks on Sunday, ahead of a reported data dump that opponents say could damage U.S. diplomatic efforts around the world.
“Leaking the material is deplorable,” Graham told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."
“The people at WikiLeaks could have blood on their hands,” he said, before admitting he wasn’t sure how the dump would affect the country’s strategic negotiations abroad.
The NYT writes: The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington. The New York Times and a number of publications in Europe were given access to the material several weeks ago and agreed to begin publication of articles based on the cables online on Sunday. The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.


  1. wonderful news, just wonderful--with Obama and his gang, we can only expect more of this...(I am joking !)

  2. Boy, it sure is depressing to stay up on the news these days...