Monthly Archives: March 2012

The FDA and the Case to Regulate Antibiotics

 

A follow up to “The Meat Industry and the End of Medicine.”

In a previous post I wrote about the problems of using antibiotics in the meat industry, and I proposed some potential solutions. Now I would like to look at what is actually being done.

Beginning in the 1970′s the FDA recognized the potential danger associated with using antibiotics in the meat industry. In 1977 the FDA recommended that certain antibiotics be banned from use on animal farms. This recommendation was opposed in Congress, and the FDA gave in. †

 

Since then the FDA has done almost nothing to address the problem. Recently the FDA had developed a proposal that would have limited the use of antibiotics in healthy animals, however in December of 2011 they announced that they were scrapping the proposal.  Instead “the FDA says it plans to allow the industry to self-regulate and ‘focus its efforts for now on the potential for voluntary reform and the promotion of the judicious use of anti-microbials in the interest of public health.’”¹ Continue reading

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The Meat Industry and the End of Medicine

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently made headlines when they published a report about antimicrobial resistance (AMR): The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance: Options for action. The report addresses many concerns regarding the use of antibiotics and the rise of drug resistant microbes that can cause illness or death. The WHO defines antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as “resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial medicine to which it was previously sensitive. “¹
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Puerto Rico the 51st State?

Little attention was paid in April of 2010 when the House of Representatives passed HR2499, which provided for a “for a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico.” However, Rick Santorum recently brought the issue into the spotlight while he was campaigning on the island. During an interview with a Puerto Rican radio station, Santorum was asked if he supported statehood. He said that he did only if English was the primary language of Puerto Rico, because that is what federal law requires. The inaccuracy of his answer is not what prompted this post. Rather, I intend to look at the issue of statehood more broadly and examine what impact the addition of a new state would have on the USA and Puerto Rico.

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Why the US May Not Even Need to Sanction Iran

In the last post I wrote about why the US may not need to attack Iran. Upon further contemplation I have come to the conclusion that the US and EU may no longer even need to sanction Iran. The sanctions have had major impact upon Iran and there may only be only marginal utility in keeping them.

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Why the USA May Not Need to Attack Iran

Iran and its nuclear program have been the focus of most foreign policy discussions lately. The main issue is whether or not Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, and if so how close are they to completing it? Israel has already said that it will attack Iran if Iran develops an atomic weapon. Here in the US there has also been talk of war. President Obama has said that he will do what it takes to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons. This is not to mention the much more direct and militaristic calls for war coming from other sources. This has sparked a debate about a possible war. This debate has again brought up the doctrine of preemption but, it has primarily been a ‘should we’ or ‘shouldn’t we’ type of debate. After doing some basic research I have concluded that the focus of that debate is misguided. Instead of asking if we should go to war with Iran, we should be asking do we need to. I have come to the conclusion that we probably do not.
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The Final Word on the Contraception Controversy….I Wish.

An issue that has unexpectedly become a hot topic in this election is contraception. Why contraception? I had long known that it was opposed by many churches but I never knew it was so controversial. The controversy began when President Obama mandated churches- like every other institution- include contraception in their coverage of prescription medications. The controversy was continued by John King’s repeated questions about the subject in the debates. And by Rick Santorum’s repeated mention of the topic on the campaign trail, and most recently by Rush Limbaugh’s idiotic comments on his radio show. I will not get into the specifics of the arguments that have been made by each side. What I will say about them is this: arguments supporting and opposing the President’s mandate have been based on ideology and emotion, and have been largely uninformed.
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Gas: High Prices and Exports

Gas prices are very high right now and there have been some predictions that by summer they may go as high as four or five dollars. So like most people I was shocked to find out that gasoline was our biggest export in 2011. (In a first, gas and other fuels are top U.S. export)

My initial reaction was that we should ban the export of gas, and force refiners to sell it domestically because it would increase supply and help reduce prices. I think that there is a good chance that most people had a similar reaction when reading that news story. However, after thinking about it more carefully I have come to a different conclusion. In part, I was persuaded by the Friedman article “A Good Question” that I wrote about in a previous post. He writes that exporting gasoline and natural gas can provide a competitive advantage to the US. Also by letting refineries export oil they become more profitable and bring in more revenue which could be used for researching new energy technology. Perhaps more importantly those refineries are increasing production and hiring new workers.
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Why a Brokered Convention May Not Be That Exciting

GOP Candidates 2012

There seems to be a growing number of people who are dissatisfied with the GOP slate of candidates. As a result there have been whisperings about a brokered convention and a compromise (savior) candidate. On the surface a brokered convention seems like it would be exciting……however there are two reasons to believe that it wouldn’t be:

  1. There will most likely be a clear front runner before the convention.
  2. There is no one else.

First: In opposition to recent history Republicans seem unwilling to rally behind the front runner and quickly wrap up the nomination process. Three candidates have won at least one state and the candidate in second place (according to delegates) has not won a single state! This muddled state of affairs is why some people are talking about a brokered convention. Despite this there are a few things that are clear. Mitt Romney has been the consistent front runner who has beaten back several challengers. First it was Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain, then Newt Gingrich. Now he faces Rick Santorum. Romney is a talented politician; he is also well funded and well organized. Even if Romney doesn’t completely vanquish Santorum and secure a majority of delegates, he will likely still head into the convention as the clear delegate leader.
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