Thursday, October 04, 2012

It is a mistake to assign responsibility to the 'idea' of mixing specialty medications.

It isn't the active ingredients in question or the fact these drugs were mixed for a custom order. I sincerely believe this is about contamination. 

Now, if people want to criticize the industry practices as a new technology with tough competition causing these pharmacies to cut corners on safety, then there may be an argument there. But, this trouble with five now dead and currently 30 struggling for their lives, is due to contamination of a tiny fungus that is normally controlled in all areas of medicine.

This is a very strange incident. It is not about casual contact for these drugs to be contaminated. It should not have happened and it isn't as though there is a NEW glitch in the system. The methodology to prevent Aspergillus contamination has been long standing. Unless this is a new species, either mutated or engineered, then the pharmacy is negligent. There are trusted methods of preventing this fungus from finding its way into the practices of physicians. 

Maybe it is best said, "There is a break in protocol in handling these drugs." Just that simple. Something went wrong at the Framingham facility that should not have gone wrong. If the pharmacy is in trouble financially and they were cutting corners that is one possibility. But, this is not about bio-engineering, UNLESS, this is a new species. EVEN THEN, the species would have to be smaller than the current known species in order to have found its way past the filters and protocols.
...Authorities said all of those infected (click here) with fungal meningitis received spinal injections of a steroid solution sold by New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy in Framingham, Mass. It and similar facilities combine, mix and/or alter active ingredients to make custom medications, much like early pharmacists.
These modern-day apothecaries now are supplying a greater share of the medicines Americans take, driven by the surge in outpatient procedures, development of bio-engineered drugs and a push for more individualized treatment, experts say.
"Their numbers are growing dramatically," said Dr. Salvatore Giorgianni, a Florida-based pharmaceutical consultant who has taught at Belmont University's pharmacy school in Nashville.
Estimates vary on how many compounded medications are dispensed. A 2003 Government Accountability Office report cited figures that ranged from 1 percent to 10 percent of all U.S. prescriptions....
I find the fact the debate was scheduled on the President and First Lady's 20th Anniversary a profound disrespect for them. It is a complete insult to their status and their marriage.

I guess dismantling Don't Ask, Don't Tell has its costs.

I mean what is next, marriage equality?

This is the full debate of the first Kennedy-Romney debate. Romney lost the election to the Senate.

For those that believe President Obama was asleep at the wheel, one might look at how Senator Kennedy took notes as well. The pictures of President Obama are biased, at the very least. President Obama was steadfast and honest. He has plans that have worked and continue to do so. The USA economy, unemployment and Wall Street are better today than when he took office. Hello?

"Senator, I don't know what you are talking about." A favorite rhetorical statement. "Mr. President, I don't know what you are talking about." Give me a break, the automaton lives.

"We need to bring work back to welfare." Sound familiar. Scripted even?

Senator Kennedy stated the same thing President Obama did about training and educating workers rather than changing the dynamic of PAY and NEW employees while riding the company of well paid workers with seniority. 

That is the problem. This was 1994. The well paying jobs were removed from the USA and placed by people like Romney in THIRD WORLD countries where human rights are chronically an issue. There is no morality in that on either side of the 'job' issue. Taking jobs away from Americans protected by state of the art laws of human rights and building industry in other countries where human rights are a concern. Romney has endorsed this type of inhuman factor in outsourcing. 

But, President Obama said the exact same thing as Senator Kennedy in his debate with Romney. The outsourcing Romney did as a venture - vulture capitalist has caused a down turn in well paying jobs. The parallels between the two debates are incredible, both in content and answers.

"I thought Mr. Romney would have asked me what I was going to do for working families in Massachusetts...Mr. Romney let's put the ads aside and lets talk about..."

Same ole, same ole as today. No discussion about the Middle Class of any substance by Romney.

"...a company I had nothing to do with...." All the same rhetoric nearly twenty years ago. Nearly twenty years ago Romney had the same rhetoric as today. 

"Your (Ted Kennedy) healthcare program is billions of dollars in additional deficit." The program Senator Benson that Romney referred to was a subsidy program and would be useless for lower income people. Romney stated health insurance premiums would be tax deducible in the Benson program. Joking. Really? Well, isn't that a revelation. "I am not in favor of a program that would add to our taxes and deficit." Same exact rhetoric as 20 years ago. "I do not approve of employer mandates as you have in your plan..." Really? And how much of Senator Kennedy's Plan made its way into the Massachusetts Healthcare Plan signed by Romney as governor? Certainly the mandate made it into the Mass Plan. Right?

How many times did the moderator state, "Please Mr. Romney, it is his turn then you can ask your question." He did the same thing last night. 20 years of rhetoric and bullying by Romney. Same ole, same ole.

Romney wants to cut jobs in the federal system by attrition. When he stated that in his debate with Senator Kennedy, the people booed. I could speculate, but, that is not the point. Mr. Romney's reply to the boos was, "Come on now folks." That is about as condescending as it gets. Whatever. 

Romney also stated he wants to combine agencies. Where did I hear that one this year? All this is suppose to balance the federal budget. Cutting agricultural supports, making Medicaid a 'managed care' insurance. All this is suppose to balance the federal budget.

The sameness and rhetoric is all the same as nearly 20 years ago. That is amazing and now we have an entire generation of Americans out of work. Wow. Senator Kennedy hit it right on the nose, the practices of companies like Bain Capital has destroyed the Middle Class. 2008 was an icing on the case for Wall Street while they are still racking in huge profits year after year. Amazing how lack of ideas by the Republicans have destroyed this country's strength, the Middle Class. Romney would not do a darn thing for the Middle Class. This is proof as far as I am concerned. 

Romney has a personal mandate in his politics and that is to remove all supports for USA labor and damn the outcome.

The truth about Romney on healthcare.

Question: "Does Romney know arithmetic at all?" His strategy was the same in Massachusetts when he tried for Senate. He was vicious and nasty. He had no facts and only dressed up theory.

It is easy to lie and be a moving target when facts are not present in a candidates debate. Such a strategy should speak eons to anyone watching.

Fungal meningitis takes its fifth victim.

7:22 AM Friday Oct 5, 2012

A fifth person has died in a growing outbreak of a rare form of meningitis that has sickened more than two dozen people in five US states.
Dr. Robert Latham, chief of medicine at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, said Thursday a patient died there late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Tennessee has had three deaths. Deaths have also been reported in Virginia and Maryland.
People in all the cases received steroid injections used mostly for back pain that have been traced back to a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The pharmacy issued a recall last week and has shut down operations.
The type of meningitis is not contagious. Health officials believe that more new cases are almost certain to appear in the coming days.

The Meningitis Foundation of America (MFA) describes the most common fungal meningitis with the organism Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast. MFA states most fungal meningitis from this yeast are found in immune compromised patients. This occurrence is out of the blue. I didn't see a listing of it anywhere with the WHO unless it is classified as 'unknown.'

NIH (National Institutes of Health) having nothing noted for this type of fungal meningitis. Besides the Cryptococcus they list Candida albicans. The Candida is a fungus and not a yeast. Candida can frequently be found in 'thrush,' a white coating of the tongue and mouth. But, NIH is also not listing the Aspergillus anywhere I have looked yet.

All the reports and journal articles point to immune suppression as the culprit. In other words, a normal body's immune system can handle the yeasts and fungus to fend off any infection. But, these same articles and reports do not make mention of Aspergillus. It is the tiniest of fungus of all varieties and why it is used to develop filters for sterile rooms. The filters are suppose to stop anything, including this tiny fungus. Aspergillus is the standard.

The outbreak of fungal meningitis is a fairly serious issue.

Fungal infections inside the body are extremely difficult to treat. Complicate that with this being a fungal infection in the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) and it is a very difficult situation for physicians. This is a very dangerous set of circumstances and the federal government has to look at the possibility of this being intentional.

I sincerely doubt this occurred by accident. This type of contamination is unheard of. It will be a small miracle if people actually survive. No lie.

Meningitis cases
An outbreak of a rare and deadly form (click here) of meningitis has now sickened 26 people in five states who received steroid injections mostly for back pain, health officials said Wednesday. Four people have died, and more cases are expected.
Eighteen of the cases of fungal meningitis are in Tennessee; three cases have been reported in Virginia; two in Maryland; two in Florida, and one in North Carolina. Two of the deaths were in Tennessee; Virginia and Maryland had one each, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fungal meningitis is not contagious like the more common viral and bacterial meningitis.
A Massachusetts specialty pharmacy that is suspected as the source of the steroid linked to the outbreak said Wednesday that it has voluntarily suspended operations....

I would never expect a specialized pharmacy such as this to have substandard sterile conditions. It would have to be a complete breach of any protocol to have this level of contamination. This is not a minor incident.

A Framingham pharmacy is under fire after it was linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak. (click here for video)

Framingham's New England Compounding Center voluntarily shut down production Wednesday after a deadly meningitis outbreak was traced to a steroid produced at the facility.
"This is very unusual -- and I stress, very unusual," said Dr. John Dreyzehner, of the Tennessee Department of Health.
The deadly form of meningitis has sickened more than two dozen people in five states. Four have died.

Eighteen of the cases are in Tennessee, where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid.
Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two in Maryland, two in Florida and one in North Carolina. Two of the deaths were in Tennessee, and Virginia and Maryland had one each, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention....

There are many varieties of Aspergillus.

Aspergillus aculeatus
Aspergillus caesiellus
Aspergillus candidus
Aspergillus carneus
Aspergillus clavatus
Aspergillus deflectus
Aspergillus egyptiacus
Aspergillus fischerianus
Aspergillus flavus
Aspergillus fumigatus
Aspergillus glaucus
Aspergillus nidulans
Aspergillus niger
Aspergillus ochraceus
Aspergillus oryzae
Aspergillus parasiticus
Aspergillus penicilloides
Aspergillus restrictus
Aspergillus sojae
Aspergillus sydowii
Aspergillus tamari
Aspergillus terreus
Aspergillus ustus
Aspergillus versicolor

It is the fungus by which HEPA filters are measured in their effectiveness. Any medical filter has to be able to stop Aspergillus in order to qualify as effective, so there are many reasons why this is a strange occurrence.

It might be a problem like Legionella, but, if there is excessive moisture in their filters or filtration system that may give a clue. Massachusetts has been very, very wet from rain and severe storms this summer season and anything is possible.

One of the cardinal symptoms of the Climate Crisis is the uptick of bacteria, virus and other contagions like fungus. Aspergillis is not a designer fungus. At least not if the one involved here falls into any of these species. But, the excessive moisture in the region could present an opportunity for it's growth. BUT, filters are suppose to handle this. There is something seriously wrong here.

Shame on Russia. I was wondering where the crashed drone went.

This is great intelligence work by the USA. Russia needs the technology for the munition side of the drone now. The drone that crashed in Iranian air space was a spy plane. So, the Russians would like to know more about the munition side of the drone program. At least is my take on it.

NEW YORK (AFP) - The United States (click here) announced criminal charges Wednesday against 11 members of an alleged ring illegally exporting $50 million worth of high-tech military electronics to Russia under the guise of civilian deals. “The microelectronics allegedly exported to Russia are subject to strict government controls due to their potential use in a wide range of military systems, including radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems, and detonation triggers,” the federal prosecutor’s office for Brooklyn, New York, said. The alleged scheme ran between 2008 and the present, with defendants posing as civilian manufacturers....

There has been a student massacre in Nigeria for what seems unrelated to any rational purpose or motive. They have no clues to why.

This always worries me. Nigeria has seen widespread violence against its own people. This needs attention to prevent any spread of the violence or retaliation of any kind. The people will be scared to not know what is happening to their family members. The randomness alone is an impetus to more.

"No evidence' on Nigerian Massacre (click here)

Published: 14:14 October 4, 2012

Official dismisses reports linking tensions to a campus vote

Lagos: A security official at a Nigeria college on Thursday dismissed reports that a massacre at a nearby student housing area that left at least 40 people dead was linked to tensions over a campus vote.
“I have no evidence to link it to the election,” Shuaib Aroke, deputy registrar at Federal Polytechnic Mubi, where some of those killed in the Tuesday massacre were enrolled, told AFP.
“It is a fallacy,” he said of the supposed link being suggested by some Nigerian authorities. “We are united here at polytechnic,” added Aroke, who said he is currently in charge of security on campus.
He however said he had no information on who was behind the killings....

Iran has a currency crisis. Anyone know about that?

Iran is an example of a multi-level monetary exchange rate, much like China. The difference between Iran and China is that Iran actually consolidated it's exchange rate system into one currency. The currency name is the Rial.

To illustrate the slippery slope the Iranian currency is taking; in 2002 the exchange rate with the USA dollar was 7,900 rials per US dollar. This was after its convergence of the currency. Today, the value of the Iranian Rial is 12,283.4 to one USA dollar. That is a loss of nearly 100% of its value in ten years. 

What does that mean to Iranians? Inflation. The cost of goods within the country has gone up and the value of its exports have gone down. The currency is creating chaos with Iran's balance of trade.

Currently the 'on the street' monetary exchanges in Iran are being shut down by police as a result of the slide of the Rial.

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan on October 03, 2012
The U.K., France and Germany (click here) are pressing for new sanctions to bring Iran’s economy to its knees and curb its nuclear ambitions, according to several European diplomats, as rioting over the country’s tumbling currency suggests the existing sanctions are taking a toll.
In a confidential letter to the 27 EU member states, portions of which were provided to Bloomberg News, the foreign ministers of Europe’s three largest economies criticized Iran for its lack of openness over its nuclear program and called for raising the cost to Iran’s leaders of refusing to abandon what the U.S., Europe and Israel say is a covert nuclear weapons program. Iran says its program is solely for civilian energy and medical research....

It would appear, people are trading Rials for foreign currency to maintain the value of their own salaries. It seems obvious what is happening. People are paid in the national currency and immediately seek foreign currency to stabilize their loss of value. Regardless, of the exchange rate once the Rial has been converted to a foreign currency, like the Euro or the US dollar (depending on what holds greatest value that day), their personal losses stop because the foreign currency is stable.

By Ladane Nasseri - Oct 4, 2012 5:16 AM ET
Foreign currency shops in Tehran remained shuttered (click here) or failed to display prices today while hundreds of Iranian riot police remained in the downtown area a day after protests over the tumbling national currency.
Police units were visible around Ferdowsi and Manouchehri Streets, near one of the main areas for currency traders in the capital. Only a minority of exchange houses opened today....

I believe Iran is trying to stop the money exchanges at the street level because it is contributing to the slippery slope. This is one of the reasons China will not tamper with its currency. It has a multi-level currency system and it would cause chaos, too. Actually, if China did this, it would cause disruption in the global economy because of the penetrate China has to all world markets. So, like I have said before, currency is a tricky business. I think China is correct in holding the line of changing the way it does things.

Iran has a profound problem. It has to back peddle losses of its currency and it is facing sanctions besides. It is a very difficult circumstance in Iran, for the  country and the poeple.

Turkey is moving against Assad.

The shelling in Akcakale provoked fear and anger

The global community cannot say anything about Turkey defending its borders, seeking stability among its citizens and moving against a nation out of control with its civil war spreading to other areas in the region. 

I doubt seriously Turkey will stop any time soon. It has to bring about stability to its border region. It is a sovereignty issue. Taking pot shots at the disaster now considered a country, Syria, isn't going to stop the border issue. Turkey is seeking to stabilize the circumstances, that means more than shelling, too. I means the initial shelling will have to be followed up by troops and tank units. This is the beginning. It was inevitable.

4 October 2012
Last updated at 05:57 ET

Turkey has renewed firing at targets inside Syria after two women and three children were killed by shelling from across the border on Wednesday.
Several Syrian troops were killed by Turkish fire, a UK-based Syrian activist group said.
Syria says it is investigating the shelling in the town of Akcakale.
The Turkish parliament is discussing authorising troops to cross into Syria. But government sources say Turkey is not planning to declare war on Syria.
A government official said the retaliatory shelling - now in its second day - was only a "warning" to the authorities in Damascus....

It is a border issue. Here is a statement from an aid to the Prime Minister.


İbrahim Kalın, (click here) a senior adviser to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, said today on his Twitter account that Turkey had no interest in a war with Syria but would protect its borders. He said political and diplomatic initiatives would continue, Reuters reported. 

"Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria. But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary," Kalın wrote on Twitter. "Turkey has retaliated to yesterday's incident without declaring war on Syria. Political, diplomatic initiatives will continue."...

I like what Michael Moore pointed out.

#1: Gun control. (click here) Even though they'll be standing just a few miles from the site of America's worst gun massacre ever - just 2.5 months ago! 

Mike's right and so is the rest of his list. The debate was off target to the issues of the day. It was out of step with reality. It was categories of topics and not current. It was basically an unnecessary debate except it gave Romney, the junk yard dog, a chance to look aggressive. I guess that is important in a boxing ring, but, it isn't in the Oval Office. Squaring off in a yelling session is some thing a liar does, not a President.

Junk yard dogs get your attention, too.
“Governor Romney’s central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut -- on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts -- that’s another trillion dollars”
--President Obama
“I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut”
--Governor Romney

How can both facts be true? (click here) The $5 trillion figure comes from the fact that Romney has proposed to cut tax rates by 20 percent and eliminate the estate tax and alternative minimum tax. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says that would reduce tax revenue by nearly $500 billion in 2015, or about $5 trillion over 10 years.

Like I said, "It is impossible to debate a liar."

Romney never once ANSWERED the President, he simply screamed at him. There was one point where he talked about competition in the market place for health care. He stated he would introduce a private plan and people could choose between traditional Medicare and a private plan.

We already have that. It is called Medicare Advantage. It is the biggest source of corruption in the Medicare program today. It is expensive and dangerous for our seniors. I explained this over and over on this blog, in that, Medicare Advantage CAN go bankrupt while Medicare cannot. So, if it ever went belly up, Medicare Advantage would have to secure a bail out and/or the payments it was suppose to make would go back to the insured; in this case a senior on a fixed income. Medicare Advantage is not the way a country should handle it's spending.

Romney used descriptions of his ideas and not the names of them. He would continue The Bush Tax Cuts and Medicare Advantage. 

Romney has NO NEW IDEAS and he tried to mask it with descriptions of existing ideas. Bad ideas by the way designed for cronies and not citizens.

Oh, yeah, Mr. Lear didn't know how to muzzle the junk yard dog either.

Happy 20th Anniversary Barack and Michelle

Great people get married on October 3rd. My oldest son and his lovely wife were married three years ago on the same date. They are celebrating tonight. I wish the two of you were as well. I do believe President Obama and the First Lady have gone above and beyond with this sacrifice.

Twenty years of marriage a huge milestone in any couple's life together. They are amazing in how devoted they are to the rest of us.