When John F. Borowski wrote about the ill-effects of Coca Cola, he recieved a letter from the company claiming there was no evidence:
Barbara Beck, principal manager of scientific and regulatory affairs at
Coca-Cola suggested that I “misinformed” readers in an article titled, “Sugar Wars” (first carried by the Common Dreams website.) She forward a letter (7/21/04) to EducationNews.org
(which also carried the article) complaining that the article was
flawed in three areas: soft drinks do not cause obesity, soft drinks do
not cause osteoporosis and finally, there is no data to link soft drink
consumption to diabetes!
As Borowoski points out, this has a very similar ring to the disclaimers by the cigarette manufacturers. He goes on to cite the journals that clearly show the health effects of pop-drinking and Coca Cola's marketing without any acknowledgement of this.
What justifies people flying planes into buildings or seeing the destruction of Jerusalem as a step towards salvation . . . ?
“Our world is fast succumbing to the activities of men and women who
would stake the future of our species on beliefs that should not
survive an elementary school education. That so many of us are still
dying on account of ancient myths is as bewildering as it is horrible,
and our own attachment to these myths, whether moderate or extreme, has
kept us silent in the face of developments that could ultimately
destroy us. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence
today as it was at any time in the past.”
"Criticizing a person's faith is currently taboo in every corner of our
culture. On this subject, liberals and conservatives have reached a
rare consensus: religious beliefs are simply beyond the scope of
rational discourse. Criticizing a person's ideas about God and the
afterlife is thought to be impolitic in a way that criticizing his
ideas about physics or history is not."
According to Sam Harris, our reluctance to speak up about lack of reason, to the point where it determines major decisions, is "politely" allowing decisions to be made with no good reason, decisions which can be extremely destructive.
When their beliefs are extremely common, we call them 'religious';
otherwise, they are likely to be called 'mad,' 'psychotic' or
'delusional.' - Natalie Angier in the New York Times
In Sweden only 10% of people believe in God, yet it is a pretty moral society and on virtually every measure of quality of life (poverty, child care, prison population, wealth gap etc.) it is superior to the USA, where up to 90% of people consider themselves "believers".
The mayor of Bogotá is an agent of change. We in British Columbia think Vancouver's mayor, Larry Campbell, is pretty cool for supporting the provision of safe injection sites. Bogotá Mayor Antanas Mockus takes on major challenges in a city with five times Vancouver's population - and probably a far smaller budget. For example:
When there was a water shortage, Mockus appeared on TV programs taking
a shower and turning off the water as he soaped, asking his fellow
citizens to do the same. In just two months people were using 14
percent less water, a savings that increased when people realized how
much money they were also saving because of economic incentives
approved by Mockus; water use is now 40 percent less than before the
He launched a "Night for Women" and asked the city's men to stay home
in the evening and care for the children; 700,000 women went out on the
first of three nights that Mockus dedicated to them.
Another Mockus inspiration was to ask people to call his office if they
found a kind and honest taxi driver; 150 people called and the mayor
organized a meeting with all those good taxi drivers, who advised him
about how to improve the behaviour of mean taxi drivers. The good taxi
drivers were named "Knights of the Zebra," a club supported by the
In case you hadn't got the point, this British MP really rubs home the
ridiculousness of some UK legislation that recently stopped the importing of
Saskatoon berries - an eternal Canadian delicacy, as witness one of my wife's pies, cooling on the deck. No doubt this MP is after political points but a Saskatoon
pie is delicious and the berries, around here at least, are free for
the picking. (Click on the image to enhance mouth-watering effect)
Not spending money is, in the minds of some - especially in the US - treason. Our very existence is seen as dependent on spending. We make ourselves poor to support the health of the stock market. As we approach the climax of the spending year, enter Buy Nothing Christmas:
This Christmas we'll be swamped with offers, ads and invitations to buy more stuff. But now there's a way to say enough and join a movement dedicated to reviving the original meaning of Christmas giving.
Today a mortar shell or bomb blew up in the mess (dining) tent of a US base in Mosul. US forces suffered the greatest loss of life since their arrival in Iraq. A number of US civilians died too. Here are extracts from comments received by the BBC:
How come communism was defeated without firing single bullet? Why couldn't the same methods be used to get rid of Saddam? - Germany
It is the common man and woman who have to suffer the consequences of their leader's arrogance and stupidity. - USA
I as an Iraqi condemn this attack and will continue to
call them terrorists because most of them are Sunni/Wahabi Arabs that
don't want to see the Shia and Kurds live in peace in a new democratic
Iraq. - Netherlands
I am disgusted with my president, the so-called
"coalition of the willing", and the remaining 44 percent of my country
that still thinks this war was and is necessary. - USA
We're responsible for the current situation, and we have to see it through. - USA
Going into Iraq was a horrible, horrible mistake that will haunt the US for decades. - USA