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Archive for July 13th, 2005



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Flap took the test at


a Gryffindor!

Look for the New Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) on Saturday July 16th.


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Harvard University is investigating an allegation that a dentistry professor downplayed research showing an increased risk of bone cancer for boys who drink fluoridated tap water.

Chester Douglass, who heads Harvard’s Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, received a $1.3 million grant in 1992 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to conduct a study of fluoride exposure and osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

Douglass’ 1992-1999 study found that the odds of having osteosarcoma after drinking fluoridated water were “not statistically different” from those who drank non-fluoridated water.

And that is an important finding, considering all of the fluoride supplements and fluoridated water out in the community today.

But Elise Bassin, a doctoral student who Douglass supervised, reported in her 2001 thesis that boys who drink fluoridated water appear to have an increased risk of developing the bone cancer. Her findings were based on some of the same people used in Douglass’ study.

The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., filed an ethics complaint against Douglass last month after discovering that Douglass cited Bassin’s research in his final grant report. In it, he said her work supported his claim that there was no significant risk from fluoridated water, even though Bassin had found a strong link between fluoride levels in tap water and an increased osteosarcoma risk for boys.

Oooops you cannot have it both ways, Professor!

Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the environmental group, also said there is a conflict of interest between Douglass’ research and his position as editor-in-chief of The Colgate Oral Health Report, a quarterly newsletter funded by Colgate-Palmolive Co., which makes fluoridated toothpaste.

“It’s safe to say that he appears to be one of the leading members of the fluoride apologists group of scientists,” Wiles said. “Clearly, the fluoride-using industry, the dental industry, has an interest in the image of fluoride as being a healthy, good thing.”

Bassin declined to comment when reached at her home Wednesday.

Her thesis has not yet been published and is not available to the public. The environmental group, which obtained Bassin’s thesis, cited excerpts in a letter to sent to Douglass last month.

“Among males, exposure to fluoride at or above the target level was associated with an increased risk of developing osteosarcoma,” Bassin wrote. “The association was most apparent between ages 5-10 with a peak at 6 to 8 years of age.”

Douglass’ study looked at men and woman of all different ages who drank fluoridated tap water. Bassin looked at the boys and girls used in Douglass’ study and verified fluoride levels in tap water for each year of the child’s life.

“She found the strongest association ever between fluoridated tape water and bone cancer among boys,” said Wiles.

Fluoridation of tap water in the United States began in the 1950s and was seen as an effective way to fight tooth decay.

So, is this another attack by the anti-fluoride folks or a legitimate study that needs to be followed up?

Controversy over the practice began to grow in the 1970s after a study found a high incident in bone structure defects in Newburgh, N.Y., one of the first communities in the country to fluoridate its water, when compared with the rate in the non-fluoridated town of Kingston, N.Y.

A study completed in 1991 by the U.S. Public Health Service found that the rates of osteosarcoma were significantly higher among males under 20 who lived in fluoridated communities than in communities with non-fluoridated water.

Several other major studies have reached the opposite conclusion, including a 1995 study by the New York State Department of Health that found fluoride exposure does not increase the risk for childhood osteosarcoma.

Wiles said the Environmental Working Group is not opposed to fluoridated toothpaste because most of the fluoride in toothpaste has contact with the teeth and is not ingested. He said when fluoride is ingested through tap water, it can stimulate growth at the end of bones, where osteosarcoma occurs.

“I think the industry realizes that the public may not make the distinction,” Wiles said. If fluoride gets a big black eye in tap water then the public is going to wonder about this fluoride in my toothpaste.”

The Washington Post has this piece, Professor at Harvard Is Being Investigated.

The Environmental Working Group’s piece, Harvard Fluoride Findings Misrepresented?

The Harvard Crimson has this story, Dental School Begins Investigation of Prof

Stay Tuned!

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A group of House and Senate Democrats today have introduced legislation significantly increasing the size of the U.S. Army.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services (SASC) airland subcommittee, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), a SASC member, and Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), both members of the House Armed Services committee, are pressing for the passage of the United States Army Relief Act.

The legislation seeks to raise the cap of the Army’s end strength, said an aide to Tauscher.

The Army already is working on increasing its troop levels by 30,000. Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, has said on numerous occasions that it costs about $1.2 billion a year for every 10,000 people added to the Army.

Both the House and the Senate have called for an increase in troop levels in their 2006 defense authorization bill and it is likely that troop levels will be increased when the conferees meet.

Flap supposes it is only RIGHT for Hillary to get on the RIGHT side of the military.

Wonder if she talks about this bill when she addresses the folks?


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Flap previously reported about Los Angeles Unified School Distict, Roy Romer’s dipping into the special interest money to form a secret non-profit slush fund, praising his and the school district’s accomplishments.

Now the Los Angeles Daily News and the Los Angeles Times have pieces:

Romer reveals donors

The nonprofit organization Superintendent Roy Romer set up to defend Los Angeles Unified’s image against political attacks relied almost entirely on contributions from construction firms, textbook publishers and other school contractors, records released Tuesday showed.

Friends of L.A. Schools Inc., which Romer formed in February just days after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support for plans to break up the district, received single donations of $10,000 from investment bank Goldman Sachs, DMJM building consultants, Turner Construction and publishers Harcourt Inc. and Pearson Education – all of which have contracts totaling millions of dollars with the school district.

An ol’ Pol who formerly headed the Democrat National Committee, Romer has committed a major blunder – A QUID PRO QUO or at least the appearance of one.

Romer defended the more than $146,000 in total donations, which he sought personally, saying his fundraising never influenced LAUSD business.

“I have absolutely no issue of ethics in doing what I’m doing here. I’m clearly representing the district here and I have no hesitancy in going to people for money,” Romer said after releasing the list. “I’m not going to skinny down in some hole like I did something wrong.”

The LAUSD Board deserves answers to pointed questions as to the ethical conduct of its Superintendent.

“It’s an ethical question,” said Bob Stern, president of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies.

“The question is why are these companies giving? They’re giving because they want to curry favor from the school district and by giving money to this fund they will gain an advantage. Decisions are supposed to be based on the merits, not on who’s giving to Roy Romer’s fund. The perception is that you have to give if you want to receive benefits from the school district – that money has an impact.”

Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, said Romer’s fund and its activities raise serious ethical and legal questions and should probably be investigated or audited by an outside authority, although she was not certain whether county or state officials would have jurisdiction.

“The problem of somebody who is holding a public service office soliciting money from people who are vendors to that office – that raises serious questions about the ethics of the relationship between the officeholder, Roy Romer, and the vendors,” Feng said. “It raises serious concerns for us that there is pay-to-play politics involved.”

You betcha it is an ethical concern (PAY TO PLAY) and do not be surprised to see Romer called before a Los Angeles County Grand Jury soon.

Romer’s office will release by the end of the week a detailed account of the fund expenditures, but the money was spent on the district’s State of the Schools address in May and related community forums to get its accomplishments out to the public, special assistant to the Superintendent Gritzner said.

Friends of L.A. Schools Donors

Here is a list of the contributors to Superintendent Roy Romer’s nonprofit agency, formed to promote the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Donor, Connection, Amount

Francie Alexander Unavailable $500

Suellen Atkinson Unavailable $355

Celeste DeCuir Publishing representative, Glencoe/McGraw Hill $500

Chet Foraker Vice president, SRA/McGraw Hill $525

J. Stuart Horsfall President, Sopris West Educational Services $375

Theodore Mayer Unavailable $500

Shirley M. Owens Unavailable $500

Patricia L. Williams Unavailable $1,000

Apple Computer Inc. Computer equipment and curriculum software $10,000

Bovis Lend Lease Inc. Construction and project management $10,000

Cambium Leaning Inc. Instructional materials, services and technology $12,500

CCG/Harris Construction management $10,000

DMJM H+N Architecture, engineering and construction services $10,000

Goldman-Sachs Investment banking and securities $10,000

Harcourt Inc. Educational publisher $10,000

HMC Architects Construction planning and design $10,000

Parsons Corp Construction and engineering $10,000

Pearson Education Educational publisher $10,000

PinnacleOne Inc. Construction and consulting $10,000

Scholastic Inc. Educational publisher $10,000

Time for Kids Time Magazine children’s publication and Web site $2,500

Turner Construction Co. Construction $10,000

William J. Yang & Association Provides minority- and women-owned business directories $10,000

Total $146,755

SOURCE: Superintendent Roy Romer; Daily News research

The Los Angeles Times piece, Firms Tied to Schools Gave Money is here.

Former California Assembly Speaker and Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Bob Hertzberg asked yesterday for full disclosure, An Open Letter to Superintendent Roy Romer.


Dear Superintendent Romer:

I am writing to urge you to comply with the spirit of the state Political Reform Act and the Los Angeles City Ethics ordinances by immediately releasing to the public information with respect to donors and contributions made to Friends of L.A. Schools, Inc.

Mayor Frank weighs in here.

Boi From Troy adds this, Builders, Booksellers buy influence with Romer slush fund

Stay Tuned.


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