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June 2011

Plaintiff's lawyers in the Banner case are backing off from their own settlement

You can't make this stuff up. After essentially telling their clients that they should be dancing in the streets over the Banner Supply settlement, the plaintiff's lawyers are now backsliding.

While the cover story is "more transparency," that can't be what they really want. After all, it was the transparency forced on this miserable joke of a settlement that got the shysters to react.

It seems that other people started to notice that the only thing actually specified in the settlement was the total amount of money available, and how much would be paid to the attorneys.  Details regarding the client recovery are sketchy at best.

Even for plaintiff's lawyers, these guys are pretty stupid.

The much-touted Banner Supply settlement is a total scam

My latest HND piece takes a much-needed critical look at the latest nonsense being foisted on the poor victims of the Chinese drywall mess.

The greedy plaintiff's lawyers, led by chief perpetrator Arnold Levin, plan to split millions of dollars in fees, while the victims themselves will see no more than a few thousand—but even this small recovery is dubious, and is not nearly enough money to fix their homes.

Judge Eldon Fallon will likely not let this stand, but if he does, the homeowners are advised to use their small settlement to retain a bankruptcy attorney, declare Chapter 11, and walk away from their mortgages, since there will never be any relief for them.

Read the complete article.

More on medical identity theft

My latest HND piece expands on the topic discussed here a few months ago.

Medical identity theft is the biggest area within the fastest growing crime of identity theft. It is far more lucrative to steal someone's medical insurance information than their credit card data. Credit card info might get you five bucks on the black market, but good medical insurance data is worth hundreds.

Worse, the costs to clean up medical identity theft AVERAGE more than $20,000. Sadly, most people—even including those who have already been scammed in this manner—still don't do much to protect themselves.

While this problem may never be completely solved, we can take some solace in the good news that browsers, including up-and-comer Maxthon, are getting more secure.

Read the complete article.

Beware of overzealous environmental regulators

In my latest Health News Digest article, I attack the fear-mongering regulators, who have used cancer as their favorite boogeyman for decades. For far too long, people are our side of the debate have attempted to use science to promote our argument.

However, there are several problems with this...

1.    It has almost never worked. Indeed, it hasn't worked since Silent Spring was published in 1962.

2.    "Science" is in the eye of the beholder, with far too many scientists—especially in academia—being chemophobes themselves.

3.    Given the state of public awareness of scientific principles, an appeal to emotions will always win out. Or, as we say in marketing, if the choice is between cerebral or limbic, choose limbic every time! Despite more than 6,000 papers on BPA for example, and its being given a clean bill of health again and again, the fear entrepreneurs continue to use it successfully for fund raising.

Instead of lame calls to "Science," we should invoke the very same Precautionary Principle always touted by the other side. That is, if a particular widely used chemical is to be effectively banned by the regulators, only to be replaced by some compound with not nearly the same amount of history, the burden of proof that there will be no harm caused by such action is theirs.

Read the complete article.

Weiner's wife pregnant? I'll believe it when I see it

The very convenient announcement, by "unnamed sources" that his wife is pregnant, came out on the heels of further revelations and more sordid details about the congressman. As such, this has all the earmarks of a Clintonesque spin strategy.

My take is that she is not pregnant at all, but this is instead a bid to garner some sympathy for him. After all, who would be callous enough to question her? Except "she"—his wife—did not make the announcement, did she? Moreover, if he is still in trouble a month from now, the next stratagem will be to claim a tragic miscarriage, caused no doubt by all this harassment from the media and Weiner's political foes.

Also working in Weiner's favor is the fierce New York attitude whereby they won't have "their guy" removed by outside (hick) forces.

Given that Weiner has no marketable skills whatsoever, save a possibility as some sort of low rent lobbyist, he is desperately trying to cling to that paycheck. Absent that, supporting his Forest Hills lifestyle will not be possible, unless he can dictate some sinecure position as a condition of his resignation.

The Anthony Weiner scandal

The jokes are easy to come by, but once the excitement dies down, we are forced to take stock of the state of the US Congress. Whether or not this moron gets reelected, or even gets to serve out his term, pales in comparison to the continuing travesty that is our federal government.

Is there even any point in recounting the number of degenerates who have held public office for decades? And, we might ask, what about the ones who are clever or lucky enough not to be caught?

In the meantime, this country as we know it is rapidly going down the tubes—your tax dollars at work. The incompetence and fecklessness have always been there, but license to be lewd and lascivious is a relatively new phenomenon.

As even the most clueless libertine must realize by now, these current events are a direct result of giving Bill Clinton a free pass. Let me clear here: The issue was not that he was fooling around with Monica Lewinsky, the issue was that he felt completely comfortable having oral sex in the Oval Office of the White House.

When all decorum is gone, what more can we expect?

Oh yes, we'll be sure to hear the mantra: "If his wife forgives him, who are we to condemn him?" The problem is that the offense was not just against his wife, who is likely part of a "business arrangement" marriage, anyway. The offense was against our country and our traditions, which are rapidly disappearing.

The real joke is on us, only it's not funny at all.

Antidepressants taken during pregnancy and birth defects

Even to this world-class cynic, the notion of pregnant women (thousands of them) taking strong antidepressant drugs—with the full support of the conventional medicine establishment—is a shock. Yes, of course, there are birth defects, but don't worry—the women will have no trouble finding plaintiff's lawyers to "solve" the problem.

My latest HND piece examines this matter, and reminds those clueless women, as well as their clueless shrinks, about a former wonder drug called Thalidomide.

Those of a certain age may recall that whole tragedy, which included the FDA patting itself on the back so hard it nearly caused fractures for not approving Thalidomide. But you may not realize that even though that drug was never approved for general use, there was still plenty of it in the country in the form of physician's samples.

As such, we'll never really know how many Thalidomide babies we had right here in the USA.

Read the complete article.

Reforming health care reform

My latest HND piece takes a dim view of current efforts at health care reform, since they are all destined to fail, using current models. Right now, there's really no reform of health care, rather there is an effort to reform health care INSURANCE coverage. And this is simply a fool's errand.

Here's an analogy for you: Would you "reform" the number of auto accident related deaths and injuries by focusing on auto insurance, or would you simply try to improve driver safety?

Once third party payers have lowered provider reimbursements as much as they can, and restrict drug benefits to the max, then what? Besides, who'd want to be a doctor under these rubrics? The money is getting worse and worse, and the student loan debt is getting higher and higher. But, the population is getting older and sicker.

Plus, we're making them even sicker by defining down diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.

What to do? How about actually creating health care, not disease care, which is what we currently practice. Real health care would not favor procedural medicine over cognitive medicine, and real health care would include such things as using some of the billions in ag subsides to make fruits and vegetables more affordable. Maybe it's time to stop subsidizing unhealthy foods?

It's time for a real paradigm shift.

Read the complete article.