Civil Rights – N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Illegal

May 7, 2015

nsa, national security agency

For more than a decade this unconstitutional activity has been going on without any breaks. It is about time that the parts of the Patriot Act be given a thorough review by the lawmakers–some of whom voted for it in the first place without really reviewing it. This is a positive news!

A federal appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal. The decision comes as a fight in Congress is intensifying over whether to end and replace the program, or to extend it.

In a 97-page ruling, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a provision of the USA Patriot Act permitting the Federal Bureau of Investigation to collect business records deemed relevant to a counterterrorism investigation cannot be legitimately interpreted to permit the systematic bulk collection of domestic calling records.

The ruling was certain to increase the tension that has been building in Congress because the provision of the Patriot Act that has been cited to justify the bulk data collection program will expire in June unless lawmakers pass a bill to extend it.

via N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Illegal, Appeals Court Rules – NYTimes.com.

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FDA Contradicts Itself

December 2, 2008

With the FDA having become a politicized entity, I am not sure I can trust any of its findings and especially when they contradict itself. So which is it: melamine and cyanuric acid in baby formula is OK or not OK?

FDA Discounts Danger From Melamine in U.S.-Made Infant Formula

Levels of melamine found in a sample of U.S.-made infant formula do not pose a safety risk, the FDA said.

The agency detected trace amounts of the toxic chemical in a single sample of Nestle Nutrition’s Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron.

Melamine was found in concentrations of 137 and 140 parts per billion. In an updated risk assessment, the FDA said that concentrations less than 1,000 parts per billion do not raise safety concerns. Earlier the FDA had said no level of melamine was safe. (See: FDA Says No Safe Level of Melamine in Baby Formula)

Agency testing also found cyanuric acid — a chemical relative of melamine — at concentrations of 247, 245, and 249 parts per billion in a single sample of Mead Johnson’s Enfamil Lipil with Iron. Levels below 1,000 parts per billion are considered tolerable, according to the updated risk assessment.

The FDA is still awaiting results from 13 of the 87 samples tested.

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Government Regulators to Preempt State Regulators?

September 25, 2008

I don’t think so…

NEW YORK TIMES
April 13, 2008
LETTER

Drug Makers’ Advantage

To the Editor:

Re “Drug Makers Near Old Goal: A Legal Shield” (front page, April 6):

There
is a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland quality as the Supreme Court comes
closer to affirming Food and Drug Administration pre-emption.

Every few months, another study concludes that the F.D.A. cannot fulfill even its basic responsibilities. Until the Bush administration, the F.D.A.
itself viewed civil liability and its own regulation as complementary
systems of consumer protection. And yet we are about to throw one of
those systems away.

Like the doctrine of pre-emptive war that led to Iraq, F.D.A.
pre-emption is a policy concocted in oblivion, an ideology without
connection to the ways the agency and industry actually work. The
editors of The New England Journal of Medicine recently wrote that that
policy would have cataclysmic consequences for patients’ rights,
industry accountability and public health.

It is not often that
doctors defend trial lawyers. Having now heard what the most respected
voice in American medicine has to say, we should have no illusions
where we are headed.

Henry Greenspan, Ph.D.
Ann Arbor, Mich., April 7, 2008

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Surprise! Unapproved Product is Unsafe.

September 24, 2008

One thing I have a difficult time in apprehending is how is it that unapproved drugs and solutions can find their way into the market place so easily? Isn’t the purpose of the Food & Drug Administration to oversee and make sure that food and drugs sold in the market are safe before they are found to be unsafe? It does not take much to know a product is unsafe when people have been hurt… Unless people are used in the testing of a product placed into the market place all with the FDA’s blessing.

All this just does not make sense to me.

Unapproved Eye Solution, Papain Drugs Cited by U.S.

The U.S. told companies to stop selling certain unapproved drugs used to irrigate eyes during surgery and to treat lesions such as diabetic ulcers, saying dangerous side effects had been associated with both products.The Food and Drug Administration warned it may act against companies that continue to sell ophthalmic balanced salt solution for the eyes and topical drugs containing papain, drawn from papayas, without regulatory approval, the agency said today in a statement.

After years of devoting few resources to unapproved drugs, FDA officials in 2006 said they would begin to crack down on the medicines. The agency has estimated they account for about 2 percent of prescriptions.

Companies selling unapproved versions of the eye drug and lesion treatment “have bypassed the requirement of the law and put consumers at risk,” said Deborah M. Autor, director of the FDA’s drug compliance office, on a conference call with reporters.

Unapproved versions of the eye drugs have been sold by Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter International Inc., Lake Forest, Illinois-based Hospira Inc. and B. Braun Medical Inc., part of B. Braun Melsungen AG, a closely held company based in Melsungen, Germany, according to the FDA.

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Safe Routes to School

October 27, 2007

California State-legislated Safe Routes To School Program

Established in 1999, the State Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program came into effect from the passage and signing of Assembly Bill 1475 (AB 1475). In 2001, Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) was enacted which extended the program for three additional years. In 2004, SB 1087 was enacted to extend the program three more years.

A new bill, AB 57, was introduced in December 2006 to extend the program until January 1, 2013.Six (6) cycles of project solicitation for the State SR2S program have been completed. Click the link below to view the results.

A call for projects for the 7th cycle of this program was announced in August, 2007. The application submittal deadline is Friday, November 16, 2007. This call for projects covers FFY 2006/2007 and FFY 2007/2008. The amounts available for the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 fiscal years are approximately $26.8 million and $25.5 million, respectively.

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Good Questions

October 26, 2007

Children’s Cold Remedies Raised Questions for Years

So when Sharfstein became Baltimore’s health commissioner, he launched a campaign that led an expert panel of the Food and Drug Administration to conclude last week that the products should not be used in children younger than 6, shocking many parents and setting up a possible clash between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry, which is vowing to continue selling the products.The case has also raised many questions: How could the products remain on the market for so long without proof they work? Why didn’t the FDA act sooner? Why didn’t the medical establishment warn parents? Are there other medications in a similar situation?

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Oxycontin Makers sued by Kentucky

October 4, 2007

Oxycontin Makers

Today Kentucky Attorney General, Greg Stumbo, and Pikes County officials filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the makers of the highly abused painkiller Oxycontin. The drug has come to be called “hillbilly heroin” due to its overwhelming abuse in states like Kentucky and Virginia. The drug is fitted with a time-release coating but resourceful abusers have developed a simple method to circumvent it. The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars worth of reimbursement for prescriptions paid for by Medicaid and the Kentucky Pharmaceutical Assistance program.The plaintiffs are also seeking unspecified punitive damages and compensation for the high cost of drug abuse programs and law enforcement expenses that have been incurred in association with Oxycontin. Six other counties have pledged to join the suit and many others are expected to follow in coming weeks.

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OSHA offers advice for working in summer heat

July 6, 2007

OSHA

Every summer, thousands of Americans are hospitalized for heat-related illnesses. Many of these cases are employees who work outdoors where heat stress is potentially dangerous. Now that summer has begun, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding all employers and employees nationwide about its safety and health resources, especially those offering best practices for working in hot weather.

    “Every outdoor job site faces hazards posed by the sun and heat,” said OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke Jr. “We are encouraging employers and employees to take advantage of our published resources that offer sound advice to recognize and prevent heat stress and other heat-related illnesses.”

    The two most serious forms of heat related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and the more severe heat stroke, which could be fatal. Symptoms include headaches, weakness, nausea and dizziness. Recognizing those warning signs and taking quick action can help prevent a fatality.

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