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THE Rejected Health Reform Ad August 28, 2009

Filed under: Health Care Reform — aprasek @ 10:51 pm


Here’s the ad that ABC and NBC have decided not to broadcast nationally:



Yeesh. Smart move. This ad is beyond help. Seriously, if you’re gonna make an ad that tries to discredit something, at least use some credible sources…

Evidence A:  “Medicare as we know it will no longer exist.”  The ad cites Heritage.org for the quote. It’s important to know that the Heritage Foundation gets a nice chunk of change from pharmaceutical, chemical and medical companies.  

Evidence B:  “Explicitly limiting patient access to treatments.”  The quote comes from this opinion article published in the WSJ. I’ll be honest, I have no idea who the author is… is she really a credible source?

Evidence C:  “Government health plans always ration care.” This quote can also be found in the opinion section of the WSJ. The author of this piece is businessman, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. Apparently, Dr. Gottlieb is also a practicing physician, but I just don’t see how he has time for medicine while he’s playing house with so many drug and medical companies. Here are just a few of Dr. Gottlieb’s conflicts of interest (scroll down just a bit to the article, “Did the New England Journal of Medicine Really Commit “Journalistic Malpractice”? And Who Says So?”).

Wow. If I ever cited an opinion article from the WSJ in my academic work, most of my profs would knock me down a full letter grade. Don’t get me wrong, citizen voices are extremely important, but they shouldn’t be positioned in a TV commercial as if they are scientific facts.


What do you think? Is this ad credible? Further, do you think this ad would influence the beliefs of viewers?



Reducing Infant Mortality August 25, 2009

Filed under: Complementary Therapies,Physical Wellness — aprasek @ 6:25 pm


Reducing Infant Mortality from Debby Takikawa on Vimeo.


I hope that you will watch the film above and then share it with everyone on your contact list. The information in this film is vital to the health of our children.


The current US Health Care System is failing babies and families before, during and after birth.

Our [U.S.] infant mortality ranking is 42nd on the world stage which means 41 countries have better statistics. This places us right in the middle of the following countries: Guam, Cuba, Croatia and Belarus, with over double the infant deaths compared to the top 10 countries of the world. (CIA World Factbook).

Our astronomically high African American infant mortality rate at 16 deaths per 1,000 is similar to countries such as Malaysia and the West Bank. Not only are babies dying needlessly, but the ones who survive this failing system are also often adversely affected by unnecessary procedures and separation from mother and family.

Learn more at:  ReducingInfantMortality.com 



Is Race a Factor in Health Insurance Reform? August 20, 2009

Filed under: Health Care Reform — aprasek @ 2:50 pm



What do you think? Does race play a factor?



Know Your Shrimp’s Hometown August 18, 2009

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 4:55 pm

Know Your Shrimp's Hometown.

“Consumers should be outraged that most of the shrimp served in the United States is produced in polluted, artificial ponds along the coasts of Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador and other tropical countries,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Popcorn shrimp at an all-you-can-eat buffet may seem like a bargain, but industrially produced shrimp comes with costs to our heath, our environment and our communities.”

Read more about industrially produced shrimp from Food & Water Watch.


So, what’s the big deal? Well… the average American eats almost 4 pounds of shrimp per year. That’s more than tuna. And considering that 80% of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. is imported, consumers should be aware that these imported critters are full of chemicals and bacterias that have been associated with neurological damage, allergies and other adverse health conditions.

Additionally, the “shrimp ponds” that raise the bulk of imported shrimp are causing huge environmental and economic problems for Thailand and other countries that farm shrimp in this way. Click here to read more about these ponds and the destruction they cause.


There is an easy solution to this problem:

Purchase U.S. wild-caught shrimp.

If that’s not an option, look for U.S. shrimp that have been farmed in an environmentally responsible closed-system shrimp operation.  

Visit the Environmental Defense Fund for more information on types of shrimp to purchase.  



What the…? August 16, 2009

Filed under: Health Care Reform — aprasek @ 7:30 pm


The video you are about to watch is from Real Time with Bill Maher. Dana Gould takes over this segment and raises an interesting question about health reform (BTW, my apologies if the naughty word in the video offends you)


What do you think about Gould’s question?


Support Urban Farming WITH Will Allen! August 13, 2009

Filed under: Events in Minnesota — aprasek @ 6:57 pm

I posted about Will Allen and his non-profit, Growing Power, last week. Awesome guy. Awesome organization. And wouldn’t ya know, Allen will be in Minneapolis next week to spread his message!

The event is open to the community. Here are the details:  


“This is not just a movement.  It’s well beyond that.  It’s a good foods revolution,”

Will Allen, Growing Power, Inc. Executive Director.


EVENT: Will Allen of Growing Power, Inc. Reception & Fundraiser

WHERE:  Little Earth of United Tribes Neighborhood Early Learning Center (NELC Building) at 2438–18th Avenue South in Minneapolis

WHEN: Wednesday, August 19 / 6-8pm


The public is invited to a reception with Will Allen (Founder & Executive Director of Growing Power, Inc in Milwaukee) at Little Earth of United Tribes on Wednesday, August 19, 2009.  Join Will Allen, the Little Earth of United Tribes community and the Women’s Environmental Institute for a reception to kick off the Urban Farm Project at Little Earth.  The event will include a food justice presentation from Will Allen, plus a tour of the project.   


Food provided by Jenny Breen of Good Life Catering, Tracy Singleton of Birchwood Cafe’, and Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart, in collaboration with Little Earth cooks.  Special thanks to Coastal Seafoods and Native Harvest.


Invited guests include: Kevin Leecy, Tribal Chair of Bois Forte Band of Chippewa & Chair of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and other Tribal Leaders; Megan O’Hara of Homegrown Minneapolis; Ninth Ward City Council Member Gary Schiff & Sixth Ward Council Member Robert Lilligren.


The ticket price for this event is $50.00. For details & to reserve a ticket click on Will Allen Little Earth Reception on the upper left hand side of the home page.


Click here to get your tix from the Women’s Environmental Institute website.


Joe the Camel Sells Fruit Cups. August 11, 2009

Filed under: Environmental Wellness,Nutritional Wellness,Take Action! — aprasek @ 6:40 pm

Internal Memo from Industry Strategy Meeting


Big Tobacco created a new marketing strategy when research revealed cigarettes could cause cancer. What was this new strategy? Lie. And when you get caught, just keep lying.

Yup, it’s a pretty simple strategy:  Just pay scientists to create “supporting” research, hide damning documents, pay off politicians, lobby like crazy and ultimately confuse the public with tons of conflicting data, science terms and fear tactics.

The strategy worked for a while for Big Tobacco, but pretty soon, they got busted. Unfortunately, these strategies are now used by chemical companies, food companies, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, etc.

The latest company to embrace the Tobacco marketing model is Del Monte.

Here’s evidence of shady marketing from an Industry strategy meeting attended by Del Monte and other companies inolved with the sale and use of BPA:

Committee members are meeting with as many representatives on the Health Committee as possible. The members are focusing on more legislative battles and befriending people that are able to manipulate the legislative process.


The committee doubts obtaining a scientific spokesperson is attainable. Their “holy grail” spokesperson would be a “pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA.”

Big Tobacco was also stuck in the same predicament many years ago- there were no respected experts willing to support the safety of their product. So, they had to hire a cartoon to market to the most vulnerable population- children. Del Monte and the companies supporting BPA are doing the same, they’re just subbing in a “pregnant young mother” to do their dirty work.

Check out Enviroblog for the full story on these subversive marketing strategies. And read more from the strategy meeting’s internal document here.

We’ve talked a bit about the health concerns of BPA (may disrupt endocrine system, brain development, reproductive system development; may cause cancer; may play a role in behavior and learning problems) in earlier posts on WG (check out: Round 1, Round 1.5 and Round 2). BPA, short for Bisphenol A, is a chemical that is used primarily in the production of plastics and epoxy resins (resins are used as a protective coating on the metal cans used for canned foods). 

The vast majority of research on BPA is very clear:  In animal studies, BPA is associated with many negative health issues. Thus, it’s very possible humans are also experiencing some type of negative health effect as a result of BPA exposure. This is particularly true for special/sensitive populations (women of child-bearing age, children, those with compromised immune systems, etc.)


No worries though, you can easily reduce your exposure to BPA. Here are a few tips:

  1. Limit your consumption of bottled water and sodas. Carry a BPA-free reusable bottle and refill with filtered tap water (learn more about bottled waters and check out my favorite reusable bottles here).
  2. Limit your use of plastic storage containers. Definitely recycle those old, beat up tupperware containers (you may have to take them to a special recycling center). You can purchase glass containers with lids (I found some at Target) or keep salsa jars, sauce jars, etc. and use them as storage containers.  
  3. If you have children:  Be sure that all of your baby/toddler products are BPA-free. This applies to bottles, food containers and toys (kids like to suck and chew on their toys which break down the plastic).
  4. If your “child” is an animal (literally a dog, cat, etc.) apply the above tip to pet food and toys. It may be a good idea to stick with dry food until canned pet foods have a BPA-free lining. 
  5. Limit your consumption of canned foods. At our house, we’ve made two changes that dropped our can use by at least 90%.  
  • We cook up beans, rice and other grains on Sunday. Throughout the week, the grains/beans are immediately ready for use in meals and snacks. 
  • We make soups and store them in quality mason jars in the freezer. Just don’t fill to the top because the soup needs room to expand when freezing. After each use, check the jar for cracks.  

One more tip that is a little more involved:  Consider canning your own fruits and veggies! I’ve done some with tomatoes and hope to move onto more diverse canning this fall. We’ll see how that turns out 🙂


You can also visit the EWG site for information on contacting Del Monte to tell them you don’t agree with their dirty marketing strategies. I’ll be dialing shortly…


What are your thoughts on BPA? If you’ve taken other measures to reduce your exposure to BPA, please comment below and share!