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>Vigilante justice remains part of the West’s traditions

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GHN News Editor – A recent case in the State of Arizona reveals vigilante justice continues to be the way some people settle problems, but that doesn’t mean it something the law allows, as in the case of border vigilante Roger Barnett.
warning at the borderwarning sign at the border on illegal crossing – wikimedia commons

 Barnett, it is said, accosted a group fo 16 illegal immigrants in 2004 near Arizona on State Highway 80.  He held the immigrants at gunpoint until Border Patrol arrived.  This is that vigilante justicethat historically took place in border towns of the past.

He is now being held for $73,000 damages in the case, following an Arizona jury’s award, although the 9th Circuit is deciding whether the verdict should be reversed.

According to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which represented the group, Barnett had hollered to the women in Spanish,

 “My dog is hungry, and he’s hungry for ass.”   The jury decided to award damages to the victims for emotional distress and assault claims in February 2009.
     
In DecemberBarnett’s lawyer John Kaufmann maintained that these damages should not have been awarded and that the case itself “should never have been presented to the jury.”  He maintained the jury is simply punishing his client for bad behavior.
  
In the meantime Arizona remains at the crucible in the area of immigration with its new law continuing to draw fire as well as imitators, both inside and outside the state, as the federal government continues to maintain the state stepped outside the limits of the law in enacting its own laws on the subject.  That too is a form of justice the federal government in some words declares a form of vigilantism in itself.

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>Anti-Defamation League issues statement on Arizona shooting

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 GHN News – The Anti-Defamation League is standing up against hate speech with its recent declaration, along with other groups tired of the type of language that risks lives and reputations.

Arizona prison This old Arizona prison outside Yuma reflects the history of violence folks have thought long past, now underlined in  the shooting in Tucson

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)  condemned the tragic shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed and wounded more than a dozen innocent bystanders in Tucson, with reports of six dead and 14 wounded.  In doing so it underline the serious problems that take place where hate speech is allowed to linger.   It made this statement two months ago, while recent statements underline its concern about extremism in all forms, as Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter in the Tucson incident, faced new charges last week.

Miriam Weisman, ADL Arizona Regional Board Chair, and Bill Straus, ADL Arizona Regional Director, issued the following statement:

“We are shocked by this unconscionable and horrific act of violence against one of our highly respected public servants.  We agree with President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner that this was more than an attack on one member of Congress – it is an attack on all public servants and the very fabric of our democracy.

During her years in the statehouse, Rep. Giffords served on the ADL Arizona Regional Board.  Her affiliation with ADL, which monitors and exposes hate and extremist groups, contributed to her awareness of the nexus between hate ideology and violence.  It is a testament to her dedication to her constituents that despite past threats against her, Rep. Giffords has always been so accessible to the people she represents.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the other victims and their families.

ADL remains in contact with law enforcement as investigators endeavor to establish a motive for the attack. It is critical to determine whether the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, acted alone or with others, and whether he was influenced by extremist literature, propaganda or hate speech.  While it is still not clear whether the attack was motivated by political ideology, the tragedy has already led to, as Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik put it, “soul searching” about the connection between incivility and violence. We applaud Sheriff Dupnik’s statements condemning the volatile nature of political discourse in America and for taking this investigation seriously.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913.  It is reputed to be the world’s leading organization as it has often led the fights not only against anti-Semitism, but also against other behaviors that cause hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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>Hawaiians found at special risk for diabetes and stroke

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Carol Forsloff Most mainlanders might not know this but Hawaiians are the disadvantaged group in their own lands with poor health levels compared to other ethnicities.  Diabetes and stroke impact them most according to the American Academy of Neurology.

 HawaiiCMF photo


The Academy will be meeting inThe Academy will be meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16.  The news they bring for Hawaiians sent out in a press release today, however, from a study done through Queens Medical Center in Honolulu reveals the problems of health faced by Hawaiians.


“Racial differences in stroke risk factors have been well-studied in Hispanic and African-American populations, but this is the first study to address people of Native Hawaiian ethnicity,” said study author Kazuma Nakagawa, MD,


A cross-section of people of different ethnicies on the islands was used in this study for a total of 573 people  described as other.



On average, Native Hawaiians who experienced a hemorrhagic stroke were around the age of 55, more than 10 years younger than those from other racial groups which had a combined average age of 67 when a stroke occurred. More Native Hawaiians also had diabetes; 35 percent compared to other racial groups at 21 percent. There were no differences in gender or other cardiovascular risk factors between the groups.


“Knowing risk factors for certain populations is an important step toward recognizing, treating and preventing stroke. More research needs to be done to determine which factors are contributing to stroke at such a young age in Native Hawaiians,” said Nakagawa.

The diet of Hawaiians is one that lends itself to obesity, a risk factor for diabetes and stroke.  In Hawaii there are movements, such as on the Leeward Coast at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Center, to upgrade the health of Hawaiians by special diet plans.  This Shintani diet has worked for many people, but the fact remains the healthy eating style has not yet been fully adopted by this native Island group.  The sad thing is the health so compromised removes that flavor or Polynesian beauty as more and more of these beautiful people

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>Study projects 350 percent increase in strokes among Hispanics

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Carol Forsloff – “The tremendous number of strokes projected has large personal, social and economic consequences for the United States,” said Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, M.P.H., an investigator at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
stroke disabling features of stroke have been known for hundreds of years, as shown by this image, described by Hippocrates – wikimedia commons

This dramatic statement came during the International Stroke Association conference today.  Small news?  Not all, according to the thesis presented by this group.  The fact is stroke cases are increasing rapidly, especially among Hispanics.

A study presented today tells us the rate of strokes among Mexican-Americans is expected to rise 350 percent from 2010 to 2050.  The rate of increase among non-Hispanic whites is anticipated to rise 75 percent in that same period.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke accounts for one out of every 18 deaths and is the third leading cause of death in the country.  Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death.  It is, however, the long-term health problems, the disabilities caused by stroke that impacts the costs of health care.  It is seen as potentially having devastating impact on the budgets of major health programs.

Diabetes is a risk factor for stroke.  This underlying disease, found at the core of many stroke patients, is also growing at a rapid rate, as is heart disease.  These triple plays of stroke, heart disease and diabetes will play out for years to come.  They tell us this news is important enough to take proper precautions and warn like experts warn about weather emergencies so people take action today.  It is news heard before, but the numbers dramatically increase, as the recent study points out.  That’s why it is important right now.

Health experts say pay attention.  This is a tsunami health warning.  It isn’t a wave, or a wind passing through.  It is you and me, kid, for those reaching middle age and over.  But ischemic attacks, that impact the young, are rising in rates as well.

So what’s the answer.  We’ve heard it before.  Fruits, vegetables and exercise are on that plate of prevention.  Still there is more, much more to the problems faced.  It’s an attitude that says there’s a future, and to secure it individually means to eat right to avoid diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

Experts at the International Association meeting today underlined what needs to happen, in the press release schedule of abstracts.

“Efforts to prevent stroke and reduce stroke-related disability in both Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites are critical,” said Lynda D. Lisabeth, Ph.D., M.P.H.,co-author and associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan. “Lifestyle changes can reduce one’s risk for stroke.”

More research is also needed to understand the excess burden among Mexican-Americans, she said. “Further study of stroke in Mexican-Americans may clarify new intervention targets. Our group is currently targeting stroke prevention through Catholic churches, which might be a novel setting for successful intervention in Mexican-Americans.”

This recent study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.  Co-authors are : Devin L. Brown, M.D., M.S.; Lewis B. Morgenstern, M.D.; and Melinda A. Smith, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.

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>E-cigarettes have likely no benefit despite hype

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Posted February 8, 2011
Carol Forsloff Experts say in spite of the heavy focus on electronic cigarettes, it isn’t known that they actually work in helping smokers reduce the smoking habit or quit.

electronic cigarettes electronic cigarettes

As it was announced in the Obama camp today, the President hasn’t smoked for a year, manufacturers have searched for that magic bullet that can help people stop smoking in ways that are easy for them.

Electronic cigarettes has been one of those ways, but experts tell us watch out.

They may look harmless and seem harmless, because they don’t contain tobacco, but according to a couple of studies there is a  lot of interest in them.

But this is what experts say:“Although we don’t know much about the health effects of e-cigarettes, they are by far the most popular smoking alternatives and cessation products on the market,” said lead author John Ayers, a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“Neither of these two studies provides scientific evidence that e-cigarettes are effective in helping people to quit,” said John Pierce, Ph.D., a professor of cancer prevention at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California at San Diego, as quoted by Health Behavior News. “It’s not clear to me that e-cigarettes aren’t harmful in some way. It’s not clear to the FDA, either.”

The Food and Drug Administration challenged e-cigarette manufacturers in 2010, citing them for “unsubstantiated claims and poor manufacturing practices,” according to an agency release.   Since then the FDA has tried to stop them from being imported into the United States.

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>Experts offer warning signs of teen prescription drug abuse

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Posted February 5, 2011
Carol ForsloffAccording to experts, it isn’t illicit drugs so much that is growing, although they remain a problem, it’s the number of accessible prescription drugs now especially worrying experts, as the problem has become serious especially among teens.

vicodin Vicodin – wikimedia commons – one of the commonly-abused prescription pills

“Ask teens explicitly about prescription drug use with concrete questions like ‘Have you ever taken a pain pill or other medication not prescribed for you?’” Hopkins Children’s Melissa Long, M.D., told fellow pediatricians during a recent presentation at the hospital.
Recreational drugs are now obtained from parents drug cabinets.  John Hopkins Children’s Center tells parents be especially careful about these.   That’s because it was found in 2009 that 2.6 million teens reported using prescription drugs.  Many of these young people end up in emergency rooms.

As the use of prescription drugs increase, so are the illegal uses as well as well as teens abusing the ones prescribed.  A 2010 study in Pediatrics showed that the number of controlled medication prescriptions to teenagers nearly doubled between 1994 and 2007.

What experts tell us is that nearly 70 percent of teens and adults who abuse prescription drugs said they got them from relatives and friends, according to SAMHSA research.  This signals the need to watch the medicine cabinet carefully.

“It’s important for pediatricians to ask parents what they have in their medicine cabinets at home and alert them that any controlled substances not stored and disposed of properly may inadvertently lead to misuse of these medications,” Long says.

Experts believe that another factor fueling the widespread abuse is teen perceptions of controlled medications as the “safer drugs.”

“Cocaine and heroin might sound scary and dangerous and might seem like big stuff, but a pain pill that mom takes and that was prescribed by her doctor doesn’t carry the same dangerous connotations,” Long says.

These are the signs experts say to look for: constricted pupils, slurred speech, severe mood swings, personality changes, irritability, excessive energy, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Symptoms specific to painkillers include depression, somnolence, confusion, constipation, slow breathing and low blood pressure. Signs suggestive of tranquilizer/sedative abuse include drowsiness, slurred speech, unsteady gait, confusion, involuntary rapid eye movement. Stimulants usually lead to weight loss, irritability, high blood pressure and heart rhythm disturbances, inability to sleep and nervousness.

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>Skin cancer cases growing at alarming rate

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Posted February 5, 2011
Carol Forsloff “I never wear a hat.  They mess my hair.  I’m not the kind who wears hats.”  These excuses might want to be tossed in favor of sun protection as experts tell us skin cancer is increasing at an alarming rate.

hat in paintingPainting “Girl in sun-hat”, by Russian artist Galina Rumiantseva (1927-2004) – wikimedia commons

This reporter has been one of those skin cancer victims.   It can be more frightening than some people believe.  Never a sun bunny or a wearer of hats, until it was too late; I ended up a victim of skin cancer, of the worst type.  That means the kind that can cause death.
Early sunburn is one of the causes of skin cancer later in life.  Tanning is also high risk behavior, despite the fact many young folks continue to do it.

Dermatologists, however, are declaring skin protection is vital these days, because skin cancer is growing at an alarming rate.
In a presentation at the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), dermatologist Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, outlined the growing skin cancer statistics.

Statistics reveal treatment performed for non-melanoma skin cancers in the United States nearly doubled from 1994 to 2006.  3.5 million new cases were uncovered during 2006.  Now Coldiron tells it has grown dramatically since then.

“As dermatologists, we know that it is hard to change behavior, even in the face of proven scientific evidence,” said Dr. Coldiron. “Attitudes about tanning are no different, as studies have shown that even though people know that overexposure to ultraviolet light can lead to skin cancer, they still tan. We need young people to realize that tanning for cosmetic reasons now will ultimately negatively affect their appearance later and even increase their risk for skin cancer.”

These are suggestions from the Academy:
• Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
• Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.
• Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
• Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.
• Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.
• Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
• Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a UV-free self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
• Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

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>Fines levied for Clean Air violations reminder of need for better environmental regulation

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Posted February 1, 2011
GHN – Seattle -U.S. Oil & Refining Co. was hit with a big fine for violations of the Clean Air Act.  During a time when climate change is seen to impact weather conditions, efforts to curb folks are critical to changes that need to be made.
Ed muskieEd Muskie in the 1970’s spoke about the need for Clean Air and reduction of pollutants – wikimedia commons

According to a recent release from the EPA, U.S. Oil and Refining will pay a $230,000 fine for violations of federal air laws and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on voluntary projects to reduce environmental impacts, according to a consent decree entered jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The company owns and operates a petroleum refinery located on the tideflats in Tacoma, Washington.

“Petroleum refineries produce toxic emissions, so they must control environmental impacts and comply with the law,” said Jeff Kenknight, Manager of the Air Compliance Unit at EPA’s Seattle office. “These laws are in place to protect air quality and human health—this refinery is doing the right thing by upgrading its facility.”

The Tacoma refinery, which can process over 39,000 barrels per day, had a range of Clean Air Act violations between 1993 and 2006. The violations included failing to adequately report and track the benzene content in wastes from refinery operations in annual reports to EPA and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, and failure to repair and report leaking valves and pumps in a timely manner.

Benzene is found in emissions from burning coal and oil, gasoline service stations, and motor vehicle exhaust. It is a known human carcinogen. Short-term exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation.

“We face a number of clean air challenges in Tacoma,” said Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “Meeting them means that everyone, including large operations like U.S. Oil, must comply with the standards that protect the health of the people in our region.”
As part of the settlement, the company will enhance its leak detection and benzene waste programs by making repairs when leaks are detected at levels lower than required by the regulations. It will also ramp up its monitoring of the quantities of benzene in the waste streams generated at the facility.
In addition to the fine, the company will spend $746,000 on upgrades to its facility to reduce other environmental impacts. These projects include controlling asphalt vapors that contain particulate pollution, a respiratory irritant and air pollutant.

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>Pacific Northwest states designated "champions" of environmental leadership

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GHN Editor – While attention has been focused on countries in the Middle East and disaster emergencies, folks speculate on the long-range effects of how energy can be interrupted to force some nations to continue activities that increase greenhouse gases, so here is welcome news that might bring news thoughts on these crises.

Portland neighborhoodgrand and green neighborhood in Portland, Oregon

Federal agencies in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska walked their talk in 2010 and significantly reduced their carbon footprint. Through energy efficiency, waste diversion, lighting retrofitting, and water saving projects, federal agencies reduced their combined footprint by 380 million pounds of CO2e. This is the equivalent of taking 33,000 passenger vehicles off the road for a year. These reductions also resulted in cost savings of more than $1 million in 2010.

This week at the third annual Federal Green Challenge Symposium in Portland, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will announce the 2010 Champions of Environmental Leadership and Green Government Awards.

The program recognizes individuals and initiatives in the federal government that have gone beyond regulatory compliance and have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions. These agencies have proven results towards an overall goal of five percent or more reduction in GHG emissions.

The 2010 Champions of Environmental Leadership and Green Government Awards are part of the Federal Green Challenge, a comprehensive federal program to reduce the federal GHG footprint.

The following agencies have been recognized for their outstanding green projects in 2010:

Overall Environmental Leadership Award:
Bonneville Power Administration, Energy Smart Federal Partnership – Since 2001, energy efficiency projects have been completed with 21 federal agencies, producing more than 170 million kWh per year of electricity savings, as well as gas, steam, and water savings in the Pacific Northwest. 
Waste Award: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Waste Diversion Program – JBLM achieved an 85 percent waste diversion rate (with construction and demolition) in 2010. This is up from 77 percent in 2009. This can be attributed to the comprehensive diversion program which in 2010 alone was responsible for the diversion of almost 67,000 tons of waste and over $3 million in avoided costs.

Energy Award:
Bonneville Power Administration, Grand Coulee DamThe lighting retrofit project at 20 hydro electric facilities, 20 transmission facilities, and 15 hatcheries has saved a megawatt of electricity, allowing that megawatt to serve the electricity needs of the Pacific Northwest. The new system provides more and better quality light while saving about 50 percent of overall lighting energy usage.

Water Award:
General Services Administration, Thomas A. Foley, U.S. Courthouse, Spokane, WA. – In 2010, the Foley Courthouse Team field tested touch-less/self-closing faucets in the public restrooms and introduced new landscaping practices. The Courthouse saved a total of 385,220 gallons of water, a 12.32 percent reduction in 2010 by implementing these projects.
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