Do you recall?

tylenolprd_8_1_lgJohnson & Johnson’s McNeil unit is recalling a few varieties of Children’s Tylenol because of possible contamination in some of its ingredients. J&J seems to be operating out of an abundance of caution, with one eye looking back almost 30 years ago to one of the deadliest consumer-product tampering incidents in recent history.

The recalled products include: Children’s Tylenol Cold MS Suspension 4 oz. Grape, Children’s Tylenol Plus Cough & Runny Nose 4 oz. Cherry, and Infant’s Tylenol Suspension Drop 1 oz. Grape.

Consumers with concerns about the recalled products are asked to call McNeil Consumer Call Care Center at 1-800-962-5357.
Lot numbers can be found on the bottom of the product’s box and on the sticker that surrounds the product’s bottle.
A full list of the 21 recalled products and their lot numbers can be seen at:

In 1982, Tylenol makers Johnson & Johnson rewrote the book on crisis management when it staged a huge recall after seven people died from cyanide-laced Tylenol pain reliever. Tylenol’s massive recall was unprecedented, and J&J’s handling of the crisis and its subsequent release of “tamper-proof” bottles, became required studying in PR schools as a case study on how to properly deal with a PR crisis.   It is also widely believed to have saved J&J and the Tylenol brand, which many onlookers thought would be doomed by the poisoning attack. Subsequent concerns about liver damage from Tylenol, particularly in conjunction with alcohol use, continue to dog the company but the products remain on the market.


BlakRoc generating some buzz

I admit to some bias here. I’ve watched these guys for the better half of this decade and I’ve known Black Keys drummer Pat Carney’s dad, Jim, for even longer. Cool doesn’t begin to describe these cats (Ooh! Jazzspeak!), but I worried that they might find themselves marginalized as just “blues” guys.

Worry no more. Dan Auerback and Carney have been busy expanding their horizons with all kinds of side projects, and it looks like they have struck gold with this project, Due in stores on “Black Friday,” Nov. 27:

And then check this out:

Of course, there is plenty more at YouTube. Check it out.

Instead of continuing to fragment and marginalize music genres, The Black Keys and their hip-hop collaborators (RZA, Mos Def, Jim Jones, Raekwon, Nikki Wray and Q-Tip are among rappers on the ticket) are reversing that trend. Check out the NPR story.

Even a blind pig gets an ACORN now and then

Ding-dong! ACORN calling!

Ding-dong! ACORN calling!

A guy posing as a pimp with his, um, employee got himself and a video camera into an ACORN office and produced a rather incriminating bit of video evidence against the politically polarizing group.  As Jon Stewart so poetically said, Ruh-Roh! Once again, “real” journalists have been scooped by an enterprising faux journalist pimped out in a fur coat and some really swell sunglasses.

CNN was all over it today, and you can bet Fox got all fair and balanced and then some.

Some ACORN apologists are claiming the video was taken out of context. But, um, well, that’s some pretty fancy out of context we’re talking about.

As I might have said in my youth: Busted.

ACORN has been a favorite target of the Right for a while, and the folks caught on video in three ACORN offices seem to have handed the ACORN haters plenty of ammo.

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A thought or two on health care

The Senate has a health-care bill to dissect. You can examine it here. americas_healthy_future_act_(PDF)

There’s been a lot of hyperbole, hyperventilating, name-calling and silly teabag-wearing know-nothings spouting their know-nothing, fear-mongering nonsense about what “health-care reform” might  mean. There’s been a lot of confusion. A lot of anxiety. A lot of misinformation. Some of it may be innocent ignorance, but of lot of it is willful lying. You lie!


Let’s all take a deep breath. Another. Doctor’s orders. One more. Deeeeeeeeeeep breath. Better? OK.

Let’s acknowledge that doctors are smarter than the average bear. Maybe even smarter than you and me (or I). Let us also acknowledge that not all doctors are right all the time. Let us also acknowledge that most practicing doctors, especially primary-care physicians, have extensive experience in dealing with health insurance and insurance-related issues. They are probably well-acquainted with Medicare and Medicaid. Bear in mind that Medicare and Medicaid are guvmint-run health care.

docs_keyh_f1If you can accept these truths, then you also must accept this well-informed opinion: Most doctors favor having a “public” health-insurance option. In other words, most American doctors (that is, licensed physicians, not phony spokespersons) think some version of “Obamacare” is a good idea.

As reported on NPR:

“Among all the players in the health care debate, doctors may be the least understood about where they stand on some of the key issues around changing the health-care system. Now, a new survey finds some surprising results: A large majority of doctors say there should be a public option.


Survey says!

“When polled, ‘nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options,’ says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.”

Of course, certain parties might accuse NPR of having a liberal bias (Fox, of course, remains steadfastly fair and balanced – my arse – oops, did I just type that out loud?). But I don’t think you could take such wild-eyed accusations against the New England Journal of Medicine seriously. Not even on Fox.

And here is what the New England Journal of Medicine found in its survey of nearly 5,000 American physicians (again, NOT spin doctors or phony talking heads):  62.9 percent of American doctors favor having some sort of public health insurance option. Note that it clearly states “option.” Meaning choice.


And now I’m going to inject a bit of informed opinion. I have personal experience as the policy holder of several health-insurance programs. I have been in very good employer-sponsored health-care plans, and they were far from perfect. You had to wrangle with claims and idiot bureaucrats and idiot claims representatives. And that was just to get a doctor’s appointment! I have purchased health insurance as an individual. And let me tell you: It is not a good deal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I heard some clown on the radio claim that 85 percent of private health-insurance clients  are happy with their insurance. That is an absurd falsehood, unless you define “happy” as “Well, I don’t really have any better choice, so I guess I’ll take what I can get even if it sucks.” And those were the sentiments among my co-workers at a unionized employer with excellent benefits.

I have participated in meetings with insurance company executives who referred to their actuary as “preventer of sales.”  In other words, they say “coverage denied” to applicants. Been there too. And I’m a healthy guy.

I have been uninsured. That’s not a good place to be either. Luckily, I am a healthy guy.

I haven’t heard many people discussing the cost to society of people being uninsured. If you believe the insurance industry (forgive me for being skeptical), caring for uninsured patients costs the average insurance buyer about $1,000 per year in excess premiums.

That’s not factoring in the cost of Medicaid (for those who qualify because of low income), the de facto insurance for the poor or Medicare, the insurance for those lucky enough to live past 62.

I know these things because as a formerly licensed life and health insurance representative, I had to know these things. And I read a lot.

To those who keep spewing their suspicions that this is all a diabolical plot among Democrats to put insurance companies out of business, I have to ask you: Really, do you think Democrats, of all people, are capable of putting together and successfully executing something that smart and that cohesive? Really? Do you realize that insurance companies are among the most generous contributors to campaigns of both parties and that they spend kabillions (not an official word) of dollars on lobbying in Washington and in every state in the union? Why, then, would even insurance companies now support health-care reform? Because even health insurers recognize that the current system is unsustainable.

The health-care system in this country is broken and it needs to be fixed.

And now on a different note …

This is a really cool video that started with a bit of inspiration from a newspaper photograph. It was a feature shot (sometimes called “wild art”) of birds sitting on utility wires. Check out what happened next.


Less menacing than Hitchcock ...

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

Thanks to Very Short List for this tip!

Here’s the newspaper article (better brush up on your Portugese!)

Happy anniversary, Lehman Brothers

This decade has not been kind to September. You have Sept. 11, 2001. And last year Sept. 14 and 15 weren’t so hot. That’s when the financial crisis had reached its peak and fear was the primary driving force for all things on Wall Street.


Not having a good day

Storied giants that were “too big to fail” were suddenly failing. We bailed some of the giants out. Others, including Lehman Brothers, well, not so much.

Here’s what the NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote a year ago today: “But even as the fates of Lehman and Merrill hung in the balance, another crisis loomed as the insurance giant American International Group appeared to teeter. Staggered by losses stemming from the credit crisis, A.I.G. sought a $40 billion lifeline from the Federal Reserve, without which the company may have only days to survive.”

Meltdown! Liquidations! Bailouts! Securitized debts! Ah, the memories. So many lives ruined. So many fortunes lost.

Sorkin was  bit reflective today. He writes: “I’ll go a step further: it is quite likely that the financial crisis would have been even worse had Lehman been rescued. Although nobody realized it at the time, Lehman Brothers had to die for the rest of Wall Street to live.” Hmm, Jesus Lehman died for us and took sin away. How noble!

And how does all that stuff affect us regular guys? Well, for starters, my Citi credit card magically became a Bank of America card, joining my wallet among several other BoA cards, which used to be Fleet or some other name before BoA swallowed them up. I didn’t apply for all those BoA cards. They just “happened.”

There are, of course, “tax implications” as well. Somebody has to pay for all these bailouts. Guess who?

That is right: You and me.

Bummed out in Buckeye Country

So what else is new? Bucks blow it in the fourth quarter on national TV and the Clowns — ahem, Browns — well, they continue their losing ways.

Glad I went into the office today so I wouldn’t subject myself to the agony of watching the Browns succumb to another bout of mediocrity.

I think I’ll come into the office next Sunday too. Good excuse avoid pain.