Kennedy sees the Light…

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…on asbestos.

Kennedy’s bit of sarcasm at the filibuster hearings:

“What’s the next measure on the calendar? Asbestos? Isn’t that interesting?”

As a pool guy and a geology school drop-out, I have an iron in this fire. Here are the facts on the over reaction concerning asbestos.

Asbestos is general term for a rock mineral that splits into small fibers. It’s fibers are heat resistant, flexible, chemically inert, and non conductive. Needles to say, it’s cheap and useful for tons of stuff. There are several types of asbestos producing rocks, just as there are several types of granite, each with somewhat different properties. There are four types of asbestos mined by industry, but for the sake of space, I’ll talk about the two most widely used.

Asbestos fibers classified as either amphiboles or sepentine Amphibole fibers are dangerous because they consist of long, barbed fibers, and when inhaled, latches onto lung tissue and causes scarring and eventually can cause cancer. No dispute here. Fibers from the Crocidolite mineral, found and mined in South African mines are among the most dangerous. Some South African miners developed mesothelioma within a year of exposure.

The main North American fiber type, the sepentine Chrysotile, are short and curly with fewer barbs on the fiber. Because of their shape and physical properties, the Chrysotile fibers, if inhaled, are easy for the lungs to expel. This cheaply locally obtained material has, in the past, been the predominant type used in the Northern Hemisphere, and accounts for almost all the asbestos used world wide (about 90 – 95%) today. The major source of Chrysotile has been regions in Canada, and much of the research on Chrysotile comes from those mining regions.

Though there are dangers to excessive asbestos exposure, regardless of type, the EPA got the asbestos scare rolling by grouping ALL forms of asbestos together and using rubrics weighted heavily toward results of Crocidolite / cancer associations. Here is another example of the same distortions. Note this article gives a 10 to 20% increase in mesothelioma. Here is a description of the environment in the town some thirty years ago:

”Every day, twice a day, she swept the front steps, because every day, twice a day, a layer of white dust an inch thick would accumulate. “

In this environment described, you would expect the disease rates among miners and their families to absolutely soar. But this study study shows the assersions made in the previous link are false. It relies on a non-scientific paper to substantiate its claims. Long term studies indicates Chrysotile miners have only a slight increase in asbestos related diseases (see paragraphs 3 and 4 for a rebuttal of the EPA’s methodology).

Chrysotile is even naturally occurring in the environment. From the National Office of Pollution Prevention – Canada:

…it is present in two thirds of the rocks that make-up the earth’s crust. As a result of bedrock erosion, by way of water and wind action that liberate chrysotile fibers from the rock, we are environmentally exposed to chrysotile fibers. Irrespective of where we are on earth we all breath an average of 10 000 to 15 000 chrysotile fibers every day. Potable water contains an average of 200 000 to 2 million chrysotile fibers per liter, and can reach up to 170 million fibers per liter in chrysotile producing areas in Quebec.

Am I trying to convince anyone that asbestos is just fine, and people shouldn’t sue companies that knew of risks and didn’t act to minimizes those risks? No. But despite all this information showing an over-inflated risk assessment concerning asbestos, and that most asbestos producing companies have been litigated out of business, and that most of those dangerously exposed have died, the lawsuits go on. Here is more information on asbestos litigation (while I’m typing this, a commercial ran promoting the fight against unfounded asbestos litigation).

PS. Asbestos fibers interlock with each other, trapping air within the lattice of fibers, which it works so well as an insulator. This also means that asbestos placed between two sealed walls stays there. So when we find asbestos insulated schools, what do we do to “Protect The Children”? We go in and knock down those walls, which, despite best efforts, sends “dangerous asbestos” flying everywhere exposing everybody. And the calculated risk of death linked to school based asbestos exposure is somewhere around 0.005 – 0.093 per million. Compare that to these risks; death from Whopping Cough vaccine 1 – 6 per mil., death from drowning 27 per mil., and long term smoking 1200 per mil. Go figure.

PPS. Why, you may ask, would being a pool guy make me care about asbestos? Because pool plaster used to be mixed with asbestos as a bonding agent until the late 80’s (not sure on the exact cut-off date). I have seen many 40 to 50 years old pools with the original surface that has no blistering, while modern plaster pools often will start to blister after only 10 to 15 years.

See Logan Run.

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In an attempt to yet again avoid the Fiery Ritual of Carousel, Michael York kidnaps a Panda in the long awaited sequel “Logan’s Run 2“.

Hat Tippiod: BFT

Maybe 15 Minutes Is A Tad Too Long.

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My friend Bryan Zera, on Marguerite Perrin. Check his rewrite of this M. P. Website quote:

“By ignoring all rules of caution and conformity, Marguerite has been able to find a place in the hearts of her viewers through her fabulously unique personality, unyielding faith and astonishing pride. When she boards a plane and courageously leaves behind her home and family to venture into an unfamiliar world, Marguerite… an extraordinary individual, inspires all of us to look beyond tradition and conformity and remain true to ourselves.”

Here is his translation:

“By acting like a total spaz, Marguerite has been able to milk her 15 minutes of fame into boatloads of cash by licensing the rights to her freak-out video to Fox. When she boards a plane, weight sensors go off. Maugerite inspires us all to eat an entire buffalo, then yell at the buffalo’s next of kin for being Godless heathen.”

Funny. Bryan should start a web site interpretation blog.

Orin Kerr – Lawyer / Humorist!

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President Bush visited NSA headquarters today to give a speech to NSA employees. The Volokh Conspiracy has obtained a copy of the speech. Here is the introduction and key section:

Thank you for that kind instruction. It’s a pleasure to XXXXX here. XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX And that’s why I think we were right to XXXXX X XXXXXX XXXXXXX X XXXXXXX XX XXXXX The National Security Agency is playing a crucial part in the war on terror. XXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXX XX XXXXXXXX XXX Osama bin Laden and take him seriously. When he says he’s going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it. I take it seriously, and the people of NSA XXXX XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX XXX XXXXX XXXXXXX ;do this? You bet we did. XX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXX X XXXXXXXX X XXXXX American people, because XXX XXXXX X X X XX XXXXXXX X X XXXXX XXXX X X X X X XXXXXX XX XXX X XXXXX XXXX Thank you.

From V. C.

A New Quizzie

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What Kind of Sports Car Am I???

I’m one of these, apparently.

You’re a classic – powerful, athletic, and competitive. You’re all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Hat Tip: InstaP.

PS. I’m not very fond of the car in real life. Does this make me a self-hater???


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Samuel Alito is a racist bigot for being a member of CAP, which published a magazine containing a satirical essay that Teddy mistakes as serious

…does that mean that all subscribers to the LA Times are ungrateful, anti-military, pacifist, elitist, isolated, hypointellectuals who knows nothing of the world in which he lives???

I’m just asking.

My blog friend at Miserable Donuts has thoughts.

PS. I do thank Joel for his honesty.

PPS. Notice I didn’t rag on him for being rich??? I want to be rich!

Is The Free Ride Over?

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While surfing the web for some random and unrelated bit of information, I stumbled across this little unhappy bite of news. It looks like the GAO has found a way around the Internet Tax Freedom Act, passed in 1998. It was moratorium intended to limit taxation on goods purchase over the internet, which helped fuel the initial internet boom. It was one the better bipartisan bills passed by the otherwise fractious Clinton / Gingrich led government. The loophole concerns something they call “acquired services” (i.e. wires, modems, servers and the like). How long will it take before a congressman proposes a tax to take advantage of this loophole? In this anti-spendthrift, money-hungry congress, probably not long. This could affect anyone who uses the net. I wonder how much finding “little unhappy bites of news” will cost me in the future?

PS. My bad. It won’t be a tax. It will be a FEE!!!

The Demise of Juan Non-Volokh

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It’s not death, just retirement really.


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No Pants – No Common Sense.

PS. from last July 4th CPG show at The Pines Resort / Bass Lake.

Another Dense Idiotic Statement for 2006

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From Eric Alterman:

“So we’Â’ve gutted the budget for reconstruction in Iraq, something that may make sense, given that we’re not really conducting any, and are incapable of providing the necessary security to do so, but at the same time, we’Â’ve destroyed what was a functioning country. True it was a totalitarian dictatorship run by mass murderer, but it functioned for most people.”

Yeah, it functioned quite well. And so did Germany, until the stupid Americans got involved. Oh, nevermind that Germany didn’t function that well for the Jews or Homosexuals, or that Iraq didn’t function well for the Kurds, Marsh Arabs, and Shia. I am really tired of liberals trying to paint pre-war Iraq as some sort of almost paradise. And as for the funding, does Alterman think for one moment that suplimentary funds will not be made available. And besides, you should be happy, as you were the ones that complained about the cost of the war in the first place (and who voted against the funding; could be Democrats).

PS. Here is a rebuttal of Alterman’s “Cost Of War” estimate.

PPS. If you can be happy with the way Saddam ran Iraq, why can’t you be happy with the way Bush runs this country? You percieve it to be roughly the same. Both torture, rig elections, invades countries without provication…. I’m just asking.