The lead water crisis facing Chicago and many other US cities today has roots in a nearly century-old campaign to boost the lead industry’s sales. The year was 1933 and, to a group of industrialists gathered in a New York City lunch club, it seemed like the lead industry was doomed.
The women’s pages of newspapers were filled with stories about children being poisoned by the metal, which had been identified as dangerous as early as the mid-1800s. And cities around America had started banning the use of lead pipes for drinking water.
Lead companies were looking for a way to keep their revenues flowing, but, as the secretary of the Lead Industries Association would warn them in a later report, lead poisoning was “taking money out of your pockets every day”…
First, the association mounted an “intensive drive” to get cities to add requirements to their building codes saying that only lead pipes could be used to connect people’s homes to the water system. Secondly, it worked to convince plumbers to become lead advocates as well, urging them to keep cities dependent on complex lead work or risk losing their plumbing jobs to simple handymen…
“They had a big interest in selling this stuff and creating markets that were basically permanent,” said historian David Rosner, who co-authored a book with Gerald Markowitz on the lead industry’s tactics.
Is anyone ever surprised to learn that one or another corporate entity will commit any level of crime to ensure their profits?
New York state health officials have found indications of additional cases of polio virus in wastewater samples from two different counties, leading them to warn that hundreds of people may be infected with the potentially serious virus…
“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today…”
Polio is “a serious and life-threatening disease,” the state health department said. It is highly contagious and can be spread by people who aren’t yet symptomatic. Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of infection, and can be mild or flu-like. Some people who are infected may become paralyzed or die.
Before the polio vaccine was introduced in the 1950s, thousands of Americans died in polio outbreaks and tens of thousands, many of them children, were left with paralysis. After a successful vaccination campaign, polio was officially declared eradicated in the U.S. in 1979.
The scariest words I’ve read in decades. I was a schoolkid in a New England factory town during the years of peak polio waves, every summer. I had peers who were infected. Some who died. Some who were paralyzed for life. Commonplace before Dr. Salk’s vaccine.
Pictures from Ukraine by combat photographers, including contract photographer James Nachtwey and Associated Press photojournalists Felipe Dana, Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka, have brought to light the horrific consequences of Russia’s invasion and the unconscionable treatment of innocent civilians.
Fifty years ago, I was in the same position as those photographers, working for the Associated Press in Vietnam.
On June 7, 1972, I learned about fighting taking place in Trang Bang, a small village roughly 30 miles northwest of Saigon. I still have vivid memories of my drive the next morning to Trang Bang, seeing rows of bodies by the side of the road and hundreds of refugees fleeing the area. I eventually arrived at a village destroyed by days of airstrikes. The residents were so tired of the constant battles, they fled their village to seek refuge on the streets, under bridges or wherever they could find a moment of calm.
By midday, I had the photos I thought I needed. I was preparing to leave when I saw a South Vietnamese soldier drop a yellow smoke bomb, which served as a target signal, near a group of buildings. I picked up my camera, and a few seconds later captured the image of a plane dropping four napalm bombs on the village.
As we came closer, we saw people fleeing the napalm. I was horrified when I saw a woman with her left leg badly burned. I can still see so vividly the old woman carrying a baby who died in front of my camera and another woman carrying a small child with his skin coming off.
Then I heard a child screaming, “Nong qua! Nong qua!” Too hot! Too hot! I looked through my Leica viewfinder to see a young girl who had pulled off her burning clothes and was running toward me. I started taking pictures of her.
Then she yelled to her brother that she thought she was dying and wanted some water. I instantly put my cameras down so I could help her. I knew that was more important than taking more photos. I took my canteen for her to drink and poured water on her body to cool her off, but it created more pain for her. I didn’t know that when people get burned so badly, you’re not supposed to put water on them.
Still in shock, and amid the confusion of everyone screaming, I put all the kids into the AP van.
I drove them to Cu Chi hospital, since it was the closest to Trang Bang. The girl kept crying and screaming, “I’m dying! I’m dying.” I was sure she was going to die in my van.
At the hospital, I learned that her name was Phan Thi Kim Phuc. She had suffered third-degree burns on 30 percent of her body. The doctors were overwhelmed by the huge numbers of wounded soldiers and civilians already there. They initially refused to admit her and told me to bring her to the larger Saigon hospital. But I knew she would die if she did not get immediate help. I showed them my press badge and said, “If one of them dies I will make sure the whole world knows.” Then they brought Kim Phuc inside. I never regretted my decision.
I have never looked at this photo without crying. The passage of time changes nothing about it. A war crime committed by my peers, my country. That poor child.
There is much more in this article. Much more for you to consider. If you read this blog regularly you know I won’t agree with it all; but, that’s not important. This post is about Nick Ut’s photo of Kim Phuc. A minute in the middle of terrible history and shame for the nation where I was born. And a photo that turned back a terrible contemptible war.
Haunting scenes of the death, destruction and sickness that followed the Chernobyl meltdown 36 years ago — the deadliest nuclear accident of all time — were recorded on film and video but remained hidden for decades. Now, these previously unknown stories are finally coming to light, in a new HBO documentary, “Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes.”…
In the long-lost tapes, testimony from witnesses offer a glimpse of life in Chernobyl before the disaster, and show how it was forever transformed in the accident’s aftermath. “Everything was documented,” one of the witnesses says in the trailer, but many of the explosion’s details and potential dangers were obscured by Soviet officials, who sent in soldiers to “liquidate” the damage and to help cover up the incident, HBO representatives said in a statement…
There actually are issues where and when encountered that some nations recognize as life-threatening. And deal with it!
Sadly, I don’t live in one.
Georgia, David R. Kotok, Cumberland Advisors, January 30, 2022
Vaccinations requirements for school attendance have protected kids for generations. But some Georgia politicians recently appeared ready to scrap all that. Georgia Senate Bill 345, as submitted, would prohibit “vaccine passports,” or vaccine requirements of all kinds, for all facilities and services whatsoever, including schools…
Twitter lit up with responses, including this one, because apparently, people do not want to be drop-kicked back into a time when there weren’t vaccines and mandates and life expectancies, decades shorter, reflected that.
No Georgia children died of smallpox last year, either…
Zero Georgia children went blind from measles last year, though there were three cases of measles reported in the state as recently as 2019. That highly contagious disease (more contagious than Omicron) will surge again should vaccination rates languish…
No one in Georgia died last year of whooping cough (pertussis), either, though that virus continues to circulate in the US at a level held in check only by required vaccinations…
No vaccinated children in Georgia have died of Covid, though the state has lost 25 children so far to the disease…
Dear readers: Georgia is not the only state churning out laws to block vaccine requirements, but this proposed legislation is such a stark instance of ill-advised, deadly foolish lawmaking that we wanted to bring it to your attention.
David R, Kotok
This was emailed to thoughtful people all round the United States, this Sunday morning, by David Kotok. A well-known and respected economist, investment analyst and advisor. And a public-spirited Citizen.
It was forwarded to me via the daily newsletter I receive from Barry Ritholtz. He’s in the same trade as Mr. Kotok. Equally talented as economist and analyst, at least as public spirited…which is why I subscribe to his newsletter.
I’ve mentioned bits of my life experience before…growing up in a New England factory town before vaccines were generally mandated for schoolchildren. Federal guidelines were accepted in Connecticut when I was still in elementary school in the 1940’s. My peers and I were vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and smallpox.
In truth, today, reading this note from David Kotok included in Barry’s newsletter…I remembered my friend, Nick, who died of diphtheria. The last unvaccinated kid in the neighborhood. Although the vaccines I noted were mandated, his parents had him exempted on religious grounds. So, Nick never got to grow up beyond 5th grade. He loved reading and we shared books from the neighborhood Burroughs Library. I missed him for a long time.
Here in New Mexico:
The state’s acting Human Services Secretary David Scrase, MD, said it could take weeks to confirm whether ivermectin was the cause of the person’s death, but that he expects it will be confirmed.
“I’d like people to know, if they’re out there taking it, it can kill them,” Dr. Scrase said.
Officials were also investigating a suspected second case of a patient that is in critical condition after taking the ivermectin — a drug commonly used to treat parasitic worms in animals. The patient was being treated in an intensive care unit at one of the state’s hospitals, Dr. Scrase said.
While ivermectin’s use in humans is FDA-approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, as well as some topical formulations for head lice and skin conditions, the drug is not an antiviral. The FDA has warned against using it to treat COVID-19, though some physicians have still prescribed it to treat COVID-19.
No doubt, other states facing the same problem, the same conclusion. Ignorance ain’t the same as stupid. The results can be the same.
As early as the 1970s, public officials in Japan were concerned about a lack of adequate burial space in urban areas. They offered a variety of novel solutions, from cemeteries in distant resort towns where families could organize a vacation around a visit for traditional graveside rituals, to chartered bus trips to rural areas to bury loved ones. Beginning in 1990, the Grave-Free Promotion Society, a volunteer social organization, publicly advocated for the scattering of human ashes.
Since 1999, the Shōunji temple in northern Japan has attempted to offer a more innovative solution to this crisis through Jumokusō, or “tree burials.” In these burials, families place cremated remains in the ground and a tree is planted over the ashes to mark the gravesite…
While many families electing for tree burials do not explicitly identify as Buddhist or associate with a Buddhist temple, the practice reflects Japanese Buddhism’s larger interest in environmental responsibility. Perhaps influenced by Shinto beliefs about gods living in the natural world, Japanese Buddhism has historically been unique among Buddhist traditions for its focus on the environmental world.
All good news as far as I’m concerned. Over time, both of my parents were cremated and ended up in our family flower garden.
I wouldn’t mind just blowing in the wind up on top of the Caja del Rio mesa. Many fond memories of exploring walks up top. It commands the view to the West every day on my fenceline exercise walks.
The first deaths from COVID-19 were assumed to be in the end of February, 2020. Further testing projected that number was earlier by several weeks.
No matter. Today, we reached over a half-million deaths from this public health disaster. The sort of disaster the United States was long presumed capable of showing the world how to resolve. Unfortunately, American voters had placed a charlatan, a fraud, an incompetent in charge of leading this nation before COVID-19 struck.
Today, we arrived at a number of deaths from this disease greater than the sum of American lives taken in World War 1, World War 2. and that travesty of murder called the VietNam War. And who is truly responsible for this carnage? If you voted for Trump…if you voted for what masquerades as American conservatism, nowadays…you know who you are.
I would hope, I do hope you’ve learned something about the misleaders of America, the “leaders” of most American politics. I doubt many will ever change. I won’t try to forecast how many American voters will reflect upon this result…and change. It’s your decision.