Evangelical minister/herbal doctor convicted of fraud

A San Fernando Valley doctor and evangelical minister who federal prosecutors said used bogus herbal medications to offer false hope to dozens of people suffering from diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s was found guilty of nearly a dozen federal charges.

Twenty-eight victims or family members of victims who died while taking the products testified against Christine Daniel, 57, who was found guilty Tuesday on four counts of mail and wire fraud, six counts of tax evasion related to income tax filings as well as one count of witness tampering…

Federal prosecutors successfully argued that Daniel leveraged her position of trust among evangelical Christians and through a program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to push the phony treatments, which were marketed under the names C-Extract, “the natural treatment” and “the herbal treatment.”

Some of the medications, prosecutors said, contained nothing more exotic than sunscreen preservatives and beef extract…

These are some of the most vulnerable victims in society. Most of these victims were dying, most of them were terminal cancer patients. Most of them only had been given a few months to live. Some had small children,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Johns said.

Daniel “stepped into the breach and took everything they had, including their time. Instead of spending their final days with their families, they spent it some flea-ridden motel drinking her foul treatment,” Johns said.

Preying upon the terminally-ill, taking every last penny from someone desperate to live, desperate enough to reach out beyond the limits of proven treatment – is about as despicable as a criminal can be.

Throw away the key!

The kicking queen of the [American] football field

In his 18 years at Pinckney Community High School, Jim Darga, the principal, said, the homecoming queen had always been crowned at halftime of the school’s football game. Never before, though, had she had to be summoned from the team’s locker room.

And that was just the beginning of Brianna Amat’s big night.

If being named homecoming queen is a lifetime memory for a high school student, so, too, is kicking a winning field goal. For Amat, 18, they happened within an hour of each other.

On Friday, with Pinckney leading powerful Michigan rival Grand Blanc, 6-0, at the half, Amat, the first girl to play football for the school’s varsity, was asked to return to the field. When she arrived, she was told that her fellow students had voted her queen. When the tiara was placed on her head, she was wearing not a dress, like the other girls in the homecoming court, but her No. 12 uniform, pads and all.

A short while later, with five minutes to play in the third quarter, Amat was called to the same field to attempt a 31-yard field goal. She split the uprights.

The kick proved decisive as Pinckney held on for a 9-7 victory against a Grand Blanc team that had come into the game ranked seventh in the state in its division. It also earned Amat the nickname the Kicking Queen…

Before Friday, Darga said, Amat was known primarily as a student with a perfect 4.0 grade average who was involved in student government, serving as treasurer…

Amat’s prowess as a defender on the school’s girl’s soccer team led to the invitation to try out as a football kicker. She competed against two male students, including one who wound up as the team’s punter.

“She won the position on her own merit,” Darga said. “She won it outright.”


Five reasons to care about the new ozone hole over the Arctic

A prolonged chill in the atmosphere high above the Arctic last winter led to a mobile, morphing hole in the ozone layer, scientists report in a new paper. It’s just like the South Pole hole we all studied in school, but potentially more harmful to humans — more of us live at northern latitudes. Here are five things you need to know about it.

1: THIS IS A NEW PROBLEM — Most of the public probably knows about the infamous ozone hole over the South Pole, which became one of the great environmental recovery efforts of the 1980s. The Arctic loses some ozone every year, too, but not like this, said Gloria Manney, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro…

2: IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN — Without ozone, more radiation would get through to interfere with our DNA, and that of other life forms on Earth. The planet’s climate is an extremely complex system, so it’s hard to say what will happen if global surface temperatures rise as expected. But it’s generally accepted that an increase in surface temperatures will translate to a chill in the upper atmosphere, Manney said….“If the stratosphere cools as a result of the changing climate, we might see severe ozone depletion more often in the future,” she said.

3: IT’S TOO LATE TO STOP — Humans have already emitted enough chemicals to seed the process…

4: PEOPLE NEED OZONE — The air over the Arctic is extremely mobile and turbulent, forming a vortex that covers the entire region…In April 2011, the vortex — and the hole — moved over northern Russia and Mongolia, Manney said. The climate-monitoring scientists didn’t notice it at the time, but ground-level ultraviolet radiation monitors started to spike…

5: WE NEED MORE DATA — International groups of scientists monitor the Arctic with a suite of Earth-observing satellites, balloons, ground stations and more…The instruments onboard NASA’s Aura spacecraft, whose trace gas and cloud measurements were key to this study, were designed to last about 5 years and they’re now about 7, Manney said…And as we’ve seen before, it’s tough to get a polar-observing satellite approved.

Combating greenhouse gas emissions and reversing global warming will help — if surface temps don’t rise dramatically, the stratosphere may not cool dramatically, and the chemical reactions that cause ozone depletion may not occur over the Arctic. What’s more, humans have already made some progress with the Montreal Protocol, Manney said.

“Having done that, we expect that we are now on a path to where eventually, in several decades, we will stop having enough chlorine to form ozone holes,” she said.

Which premises that politicians – on their own or forced to act by popular movements – will get off their rusty dusty and allocate funds and programmatic efforts to mitigate climate change, pollution and environmental degradation.

On a global scale.

Schoolgirls crack the secret of cooking the perfect boiled egg

A group of schoolgirls claims to have discovered exactly what makes the perfect egg-and-soldiers breakfast.

The young eggheads from Sherborne Girls School in Dorset say Delia Smith was right all along…the perfect boiled egg does take six minutes.

The team of twelve science students took part in an experiment commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry and led by Professor Hal Sosabowski, principal lecturer in Chemistry at Brighton University. Setting out to test one of the nation’s all-time favourite breakfasts, the boffins confirmed not only the optimum time for boiling an egg but also the key variables that make up the perfect dipping soldier.

Their finds included:

*Margarine makes a stronger dunking soldier than butter
*White bread makes more effective soldiers
*Optimum toasting time is 2.5 minutes
*The perfect soldier dimension is 1.5cm in width
*The perfect boiled egg takes six minutes…

Sixth-form student Rosanna Younger, 17, came forward with the hypothesis that “applying margarine to toast will produce stronger soldiers than applying butter”.

She said “It has been really interesting to identify a strong trend in such a short time. We kept the experiment simple, focusing on one aspect of boiled eggs and soldiers. “I love butter on my toast but I might just have to swap over to margarine in future to ensure strong soldiers..!”

The school’s aim is “to provide a rich, all-round education enabling girls to enjoy fulfilling and active lives, have open and enquiring minds and develop the character and courage to make a valuable contribution to a changing world”.

I would suggest an additional variable in their consideration of butter vs. margarine coating the soldier in this recipe. What was the butterfat percentage in the butter they were using? I imagine that a higher bf-rating than the usual OTC stuff might make a difference.

Yes, this is one of my favorite breakfasts. Just a touch of fresh-ground tellicherry black pepper and a few flakes of Malden sea salt crushed between thumb and forefinger to dust the serving. Yum!

[And who would be silly enough to challenge Delia over boiled eggs]

Breast cancer patient gets the arrogant and ignorant treatment we expect from the TSA

Tightened security at airports has created new problems for medical patients, who may be subjected to embarrassing public pat-downs after imaging machines detect devices or implants related to their health.

The latest case involves Lori Dorn, a 44-year-old New York woman who learned in March that she had breast cancer. After tests revealed a high genetic risk for cancer, Ms. Dorn underwent a bilateral mastectomy in April as well as a grueling chemotherapy treatment that just ended in September. As part of her breast reconstruction, tissue expanders were implanted to stretch her skin before placement of a permanent breast implant.

But…last week, on her way to San Francisco to visit friends, she was treated with hostility and humiliated after the tissue expanders were detected by a body scanning machine at Kennedy Airport in New York. She said the workers from the Transportation Security Administration would not let her retrieve a medical card explaining the implants, a situation she wrote about on her blog:

I told her that I was not comfortable with having my breasts touched, and that I had a card in my wallet that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information and asked to retrieve it. This request was denied. Instead, she called over a female supervisor who told me the exam had to take place. I was again told that I could not retrieve the card and needed to submit to a physical exam in order to be cleared. She then said, “And if we don’t clear you, you don’t fly,” loud enough for other passengers to hear. And they did. And they stared at the bald woman being yelled at by a T.S.A. supervisor.

I have been through emotional and physical hell this past year due to breast cancer…. I understand the need for safety when flying, but there is also a need for those responsible to be compassionate and sensitive to each situation.

Ms. Dorn said she is not opposed to being patted down, but believes she should have been given a chance to explain her medical situation and taken to a private area for the pat-down. She said a private pat-down was never offered.

She also says she still has several painful areas on her chest where her body is still healing. “The areas are very sensitive with or without touch”…

The T.S.A. e-mailed a statement about the incident, saying that proper screening procedures were followed.

The Obama administration hasn’t improved on the range of incompetents, dullards and burger-flippers that met the standards of the Bush administration. Nor has the White House of Change interfered with other vile and criminal standards for conducting the anti-terrorism patrol more critical to the federal budget than, say, health, education or air quality. No surprise.

But, treating all citizens as criminals and cattle has got to stop! Constitutional protections against behavior common to kingdoms and dictatorship were originally instituted for the same reasons they need to be revived. We are decent human beings supposedly living in the Land of Liberty. Focus the crap behavior on legitimate targets not the whole populace.

Superbroccoli, Beneforte, goes on sale in UK

A heart disease and cancer-fighting ”superbroccoli” developed by British scientists goes on sale in the UK…

The vegetable looks the same as normal broccoli but contains boosted levels of a health-giving nutrient.

Research suggests the plant chemical, glucoraphanin, may protect the body against heart disease and some types of cancer. The new broccoli, called Beneforte, contains two to three times more glucoraphanin than standard broccoli.

It will be sold at Marks & Spencer stores from today and make an appearance on the shelves of other supermarkets next year.

Beneforte was developed by British scientists using conventional breeding techniques rather than genetic engineering…

Even though it took much longer to achieve than the GM product – which couldn’t be told apart – this should satisfy the Luddites who crap their drawers over “machines” being used to produce new veggies.

The nutrient is converted in the gut into the bioactive compound sulphoraphane, which circulates in the bloodstream. Evidence indicates that sulphoraphane has beneficial effects such as reducing chronic inflammation, stopping uncontrolled cell division associated with early-stage cancer, and boosting the body’s antioxidants…

Broccoli is believed to protect against some cancers, especially bowel and prostate. Studies have shown that men with broccoli-rich diets have a reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Here in the States, our anti-GM fanatics aren’t quite as in control of politicians as in the UK; but, their Luddite trip can be as vociferous. Tie that with an essential credo of the Republican Party being fear and hatred of broccoli – and I think only growers tied into the meandering backroad of food as medicine, organic cures for everything from low SAT scores to profligate sex, will ever have small-scale success.