August 19, 2011

Never Forget: September 11, 2001

September 11, 2009

I originally wrote this post last year on my (now retired) other blog, but it is fitting to repost it here today:

September 11, 2001

I will never forget the events of September 11, 2001. So many men and women lost their lives in the biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. I think about it almost every day. Sometimes people seem to forget (or pretend to forget) what happened. They talk about the “War on Terror” in such a negative way without reflecting on the real reasons behind it. Listening to Darryl Worley’s song Have You Forgotten? and looking at archival footage from that day make me wonder if maybe we should show images from 9/11/01 every day. Americans need to remember what we learned and what we are really fighting for. This is just as important now as it was seven years ago.

President George W. Bush will be remembered in history for being a wartime president (whether that is a good thing or a bad thing in itself is debatable). Although there are so many nasty things the Left has called our president (i.e. “retarded cowboy,” “war criminal,” “bumbling buffoon”), one thing is certain: Bush has kept our country from another terrorist attack. As Daniel Henninger wrote in an article today for The Wall Street Journal, “Lest we forget, as someone said, let’s revisit the bare details of that day. This presumably is the reason for anyone’s post-9/11 antiterror policies.”

One of my heroes is Todd Morgan Beamer. I did not know him personally, but I have read and connected with his story. He was one of the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93. A group of brave men and women would not surrender and they fought the hijackers. They succeeded in preventing the plane from reaching its targeted destination (presumably the White House or the U.S. Capitol) by crashing it into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Todd Beamer’s last audible words to a 911 operator were “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” A motto that is near and dear to my heart.


Use It or Lose It

June 19, 2009

Whenever an over-the-counter medicinal product is on the evening news, it’s never a good thing. The other night I watched as my beloved Zicam Cold Remedy was plastered across the headlines. The reporter did a profile story on this poor bloke who apparently lost his sense of smell after using Zicam. I’m not trying to dismiss this man’s quandary, because losing your sense of smell (or any sense for that matter) sucks, but I found a bit of humor in the way the story was presented. It was a “woe is me” exposé on how his smell diminished over a period of time to the point of permanent damage. He took for granted the odorous sensations in life, like the taste of foods and the smell of roadkill, until it was too late.

Not only was Mr. Don Ehler’s story on all the major TV news stations, Zicam became an overnight media buzz on the internet as well, with “Zicam side effects” and “Zicam recall” prominent searches on Google. But what I don’t understand about any of the reporters who covered the story is that they didn’t seem to ask Ehler (or any of the supposed 130 other Zicam consumers who complained of smell loss) how often they actually used the product. I have a hunch that it was not a once-a-month kind of a deal. Admittedly, zinc is a powerful acid and squirting any copious amounts up your nostrils can be hazardous to your health, but I would not be too concerned about using it periodically during the cold season. All drugs have side effects. Anything you put into your body can have unwanted consequences. I don’t think that necessarily should mandate a complete recall of all Zicam’s products (as some are demanding).

I don’t know if I’m being a conspiracy theorist here, but I think the involvement of the FDA in this situation brings up a whole host of other issues. It really is not as black-and-white as a “bad/defective drug.” Lately (including this and that), the FDA has been on a power trip. The government-run organization wants to be control of every aspect of public health. Since 1999, Zicam hit the consumer market as a “homeopathic remedy” and has not needed FDA approval because it was not a “drug.” With the immense popularity of the cold remedy in the last five years or so, they have surely raked in the dough. The FDA clearly would want a piece of this profitable pie. Apparently Zicam’s parent company Matrixx paid $12 million in court settlements filed by Zicam users in 2006, but in the three years since then it has not snowballed into a bigger issue. So when on June 16, the FDA released a warning advising consumers to not use the nasally-administered product at all, some red flags when up for me. It is interesting to note that although Ehler admitted to using (the not-as-popular) Zicam’s nasal allergy spray on a weekly basis, the FDA did not include the allergy products in their action against the company.

If you visit Zicam’s website, the first thing you’ll see is a “Message to Consumers” about the recent FDA warning (with an accompanying video from the president of Matrixx Initiatives). I was actually disappointed to see that the company decided to voluntarily recall their product in compliance with the FDA’s warning. Despite making it clear that their scientific and medical safety tests have shown “no credible evidence that Zicam… causes you to lose your sense of smell,” Matrixx says that they plan to fully cooperate and work with the FDA in getting the issue resolved.

Although anosmia (the loss of smell) is no laughing matter, I think it’s quite humorous that out of all the dangerous diseases that our plaguing our people today (including AIDS, cancer, malaria, TB, and influenza), this is the one (along with the swine flu) that Americans are supposed to be concerned about. I don’t mind my nose; most of the time (when it’s functioning properly), I don’t even notice it at all. I am, however, continually fascinated how memories can be triggered by the sudden onslaught of a particular fragrance. That part of the nose is engrosses me very much. Nevertheless, if I had to lose one of my five senses, it would be smell. I would ultimately chose to keep my vision, hearing, taste, and sense of touch over that distinguishing piece of cartilage in the middle of my face.

The momentary question: Will I continue to use Zicam products? Yes, I will use the oral remedies (if need be) until the nasal ones are back on pharmacy shelves. I don’t use the product habitually, but it really does work for me as a preventative measure when I feel the rhinovirus coming on. I really hate being sick (as though anybody really enjoys it) so, for the time being, it is worth the risk for me.

Lesson of the day: Stop and smell the roses once in a while. They may not always be there. (Apparently some roses are an endangered species.)

Richmond man joins Zicam complaints
FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell
FDA warns against using 3 popular Zicam cold meds

Universal Health Care Would Ruin U.S.

June 16, 2009

Before you get your panties in a bunch, I realize that the Obamassiah’s health care plan is not “universal health care,” but it is one step closer toward socialized care. When talking about letting our government run our national health care system, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

1) Do you really want the federal government in charge of YOUR health care?

Not one department in the U.S. government runs 100% efficiently (or anywhere near it). And you can’t expect them to with all the bureaucratic forces running against them. Politics is a dirty business and I would like to keep all of the baggage that comes with government-run agencies outside of hospitals. The best analogy I’ve heard is this: Would you rather your health care plan be like going to the Department of Motor Vehicles (single-payer, government-run) or a department store (you decide where to go)? Furthermore, do you really want the federal government in charge of something as vital to you as your health care? Malpractice lawsuits would erupt into an even bigger issue f people could sue their government for every botched procedure.

2) What is the actual cost of nationalized health care?

Competition is essential in keeping our free market stable. “Free” universal health care is like everything else: NOT FREE. The only way to pay for everyone’s health care plans is to have taxpaying citizens pay even higher taxes. You know how much the Dems love their taxes. Not only will individual taxes go sky-high, but corporate income taxes and Social Security taxes would also hit the ceiling. If health care is all-inclusive, doctors’ offices will fill up every time someone catches a sniffle and organs will not be the only things on waiting lists. In this kind of system, healthy people will be paying for those who lead unhealthy lifestyles (i.e. smokers, obese). Not only would private practices take a huge hit, but so would the medical industry. Patients wouldn’t be able to choose their doctors and doctors wouldn’t be able to choose their patients. Additionally, who would want practice medicine with government officials breathing down their neck? In short, lots of tax dollars will be spent for less-than-adequate care. Sounds like a raw deal to me.

3) Will universal health care solve the real problem?

The Dems often cite the millions of uninsured Americans as being the flaw of today’s current health care system. Just because they are uninsured, does not mean they cannot receive treatment from nonprofits and government-run hospitals. It is also illegal to refuse emergency medical service to someone without insurance. But If the government starts handing out free medical care to every person (including those living on welfare), the system will inevitably collapse and it will take our capitalistic economy with it. “Like social security, any government benefit eventually is taken as a ‘right’ by the public, meaning that it’s politically near impossible to remove or curtail it later on when costs get out of control” (from

Aside from all the socioeconomic reasons, nationalized health care is not a response to the real things people are suffering from. The leading causes of death in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. These diseases and biological attacks cannot be treated by one quick trip to the hospital (government-run or otherwise). Peter Huber writes in his editorial, “The cholera of our times is a stew of molecules, concocted by genes, gluts of cigarettes, beer, ice cream and other delicious consumables, and by whatever attitude problems we might have about eating our peas or taking our pills.” We are in the era of chronic disease and what we need to invest in is new medicine, not a new health care system. I admit that our health care system does need some reform, but socialized medicine is not the cure we need.

Universal Healthcare’s Dirty Little Secrets
How The New Medicine Renders Universal Health Care Impossible
Balanced Politics: Universal Health Care

The 24/7 Blogging Experiment: Conclusion

June 14, 2009

Every experiment should have a conclusion. That’s what I learned in my 7th grade science class. Or something like that. Participating in The 24/7 Blogging Experiment was challenging, entertaining, strenuous, intense, and oh-so-wordy. It sure was a lot of blogging in a short amount of time. I’m glad that I did it, although I don’t think that I’ll be able to do it again for a little while. I have a bit of writer’s block. (Okay, that’s a lie. I always have something to say. I’m just overworked.)

I hope you enjoyed some of the things I had to say. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say; in fact, I hope you disagree with some things because debate is a healthy form of dialogue. All I ask is that you take the time to read what I have to say (and maybe comment, too). Adding my blog to your RSS Reader would also be awesome! I want to thank you for reading my blog. I look forward to continue my writings with you (the reader) in mind. I consider The 24/7 Experiment to be a success. Whether for good or ill, I can now officially call myself a blogger (ah!).

– extraordinarIAN

Global Scamming

June 14, 2009

I have been quite convinced for some time now that this whole “global warming” phenomenon is part of a scam from the Left wing of American politics. The whole thing really took off around the time Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth came out. (The fact that he won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the IPCC is immensely disturbing.) The American Left, along with their friends in the MSM, have been able to convince us that we are somehow responsible for a shift in global climate change.

Every year, people around the globe invest in billions of dollars into “green” products. How did the Greens (the term for these environmentalist whackos from Paul Johnson’s article) accomplish this? They used a different kind of green: money. The Greens, predominately made up of the liberal elite, have convinced the rest of America (and the world at large) to invest in the “environmentally-friendly” programs that they run. They have bullied us into buying “green”: green appliances, green cars, and green shopping bags. It is a myth that “going green” will have a significant effect on Earth’s climate. In fact, many of these so-called green items do more to harm the environment than help it. (Check out Ellen Gamerman of WSJ’s “An Inconvenient Bag”.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-environment, but I am anti-global warming propaganda. I do not deny that climate change exists, but I refute the notion that it is man-made and thus we are mandated (note the pun) to somehow put a stop to it. The actual science behind global warming is shaky at best. You can’t tell me there is proof when there is scientific evidence showing the exact opposite. The scary thing is that global warming has become both a science and a religion for these environmentalist nutjobs. Eminent British historian and author Paul Johnson articulates it well in his column “The Nonsense of Global Warming”:

The idea that human beings have changed and are changing the basic climate system of the Earth through their industrial activities and burning of fossil fuels–the essence of the Greens’ theory of global warming–has about as much basis in science as Marxism and Freudianism. Global warming, like Marxism, is a political theory of actions, demanding compliance with its rules. Those who buy in to global warming wish to drastically curb human economic and industrial activities, regardless of the consequences for people, especially the poor. If the theory’s conclusions are accepted and agreed upon, the destructive results will be felt most severely in those states that adhere to the rule of law and will observe restrictions most faithfully. The global warming activists’ target is the U.S. If America is driven to accept crippling restraints on its economy it will rapidly become unable to shoulder its burdens as the world’s sole superpower and ultimate defender of human freedoms. We shall all suffer, however, as progress falters and then ceases and living standards decline.

With many more real problems worldwide, it is such a tragedy that we have been suckered into this global warming scam. Environmental waste is a problem, but buying off your “carbon footprint” is not the solution. I should give credit to the liberals for coming up with such an ingenious idea: Make every day Earth Day and make everyone else pay for it. In all likeliness, we will use up our oil supplies and run out of food, as a result of these eco-friendly projects, before the Earth ignites into a giant fireball. Now that’s the inconvenient truth.

Top Ten ‘Global-Warming’ Myths
The Nonsense of Global Warming
Global warming — myth, threat or opportunity?

Pharmacy ≠ Public Health Monitor

June 14, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sara (her blog) told me that CVS stores with a pharmacy (very prominent in Boston) had stopped selling cigarettes. I am not a smoker myself, but I was surprised by the news. The CVS/pharmacy that I regularly go to always had cigarettes behind the counter. The next time I went to CVS, I noticed all the tobacco products were gone. I asked the woman working what had happened and she said, “We’re a pharmacy. We don’t sell cigarettes.” Ummm… okay?

So I started researching the issue and found this article entitled “Pharmacy cigarette sales must end.” At first glance I saw the Ph.D. and stupidly assumed this guy was a practicing doctor (he’s not). He’s actually a “Professor of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.” He’s also a member of several professional pharmacist organizations and the author/editor of the Pharmacist Activist Newsletter. Anyway, my complaint is not so much about what this dude is saying as what is actually happening.

According to the article, “In December, the Boston Public Health Commission approved a ban on the sale of tobacco products at health and educational institutions, including pharmacies and drug stores and college and university campuses. This ban does not include exceptions based on the type of store (e.g., grocery stores) in which the pharmacy is located.” Tobacco has a long history of being sold in American pharmacies. It is not only the nostalgia of the Wild West’s “general pharmacy,” but the reality of consumer demand that keeps cigarettes in stores. For many living in Boston (myself included), CVS/pharmacy is the “grocery” store closest to their homes. Why can’t we rely on capitalistic practices our country was founded on? If there’s a market demand for something and the companies want to fulfill that need, why shouldn’t they be allowed to?

Lobbyists and so-called “healthcare experts” are fighting what they consider the contradiction of pharmacies selling products not good for people’s health. They are pushing pharmacies (the big retail chains in particular) to remove cigarettes from their shelves. It’s the notion that pharmacies are somehow responsible for general public health. The slippery slope argument also applies here; the city of Boston banned cigarettes at CVS/pharmacy. Cambridge is on its way to doing the same. What’s next? My guess is candy, soda, and sugar cereals (Cheerios too!). When lobbyists start dictating what they think is “good” or “healthy” for the public, they are taking the decision away from individual companies and consumers. People vote with their wallets every day as to what products should be made available; I don’t want some nutjob pharmacist “concerned” with public health to choose what goes on store shelves. We live in a democracy; leave it for the people to decide.

Could Cambridge ban cigarettes in pharmacies?
Pharmacy cigarette sales must end.
Cigarette Sales in Drugstores Come Under Fire.