Archive for June 29th, 2010

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said of the Wall Street reform bill, “This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.”

Wall Street, an ant? You mean the bankers who have been spending more than a million dollars a day on lobbyists to kill the bill? You mean the gargantuan institutions whose reckless, predatory actions caused the near-collapse of the financial system and plunged us into the Great Recession? Sorry, I’m really not seeing anything ant-like here.

And then he says the reform bill is like a nuclear weapon. I guess he’s trying to say it’s too strong. Yeah, there are some good, strong regulations in the bill, like the consumer financial protection bureau and increased transparency in the derivatives market.

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Despite multiple studies proving the drug is dangerous and countless lawsuits in which people claim they were harmed from taking the drug, the FDA continues to allow Avandia to be prescribed.

New research published this week backs Public Citizen’s 2008 petition to the FDA to remove Avandia from the market.

According to the Washington Post:

One analysis, involving more than 35,500 people, found that Avandia significantly raises the chances of a heart attack. The second, a federal analysis of more than 227,500 Medicare patients — the largest such study to date — found that the drug boosts the risk for strokes, heart failure and death.

However the new research still has not stopped drug maker GlaxoSmithKline from claiming that its drug is safe. Yet earlier this week a Senate investigation concluded GlaxoSmithKline has known about the possible risks from Avandia – yet they never filed it with the FDA.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, said allowing Avandia to remain on the market runs counter to what top FDA officials have said about putting the public’s health first.

Every month that the FDA fails to get the drug withdrawn from the market means that an additional 150,000 to 200,000 prescriptions will be filled in this country, needlessly exposing  people to the increased risk of stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.

An unpublished FDA study indicated that 48,000 heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems in the elderly between 1999 and 2009 could have been prevented if the patients had taken other medications instead of the controversial diabetes drug Avandia.

So how much longer will this drug be in the market?!

The mysterious disappearance of the Boycott BP fan page from Facebook last night was, apparently, a mistake caused by Facebook’s automated system, or so Facebook says today. Here’s what Facebook told us when we asked why the Boycott BP page was taken down:

Thanks for reaching out to Facebook. The admin profile of the Boycott BP Page was disabled by our automated systems therefore removing all the content that had been created by the profile. After a manual review we determined the profile was removed in error and it has now been restored along with the Page.

TechCrunch has more. But there’s still a lot of room for explanation on Facebook’s part.

In response to Facebook’s decision to remove the Boycott BP page, Public Citizen attorney Greg Beck issued the following statement:

“Late Monday, Facebook shut down the Boycott BP fan page, effectively locking out the page’s more than 700,000 members. After a backlash by users, Facebook reinstated the site this morning. Facebook has not said whether a complaint by BP prompted its decision to terminate the Boycott BP page. Regardless, Facebook’s decision to delete the page without warning or explanation was irresponsible.

Facebook and other social websites have become the public squares of the Internet – places where citizens can congregate as a community to share their opinions and voice their grievances. Facebook’s ownership of this democratic forum carries great responsibility. At the very least, Facebook should provide warning and a reasoned explanation before destroying a large and active community.

It is not clear whether BP is behind the page’s temporary removal. Facebook says the site was removed when the company’s “automated systems” disabled the site owner’s profile, and restored after a manual review “determined the profile was removed in error.” But the company has not explained the cause of the removal or said whether a complaint by BP triggered the process. Companies often complain to Facebook about fan pages that include their names, claiming that viewers will be confused about whether the company sponsors the site. Here, nobody could be confused into believing that a page named “Boycott BP” is run by BP itself. People have a right to criticize a company by name, and BP has no right to stop it.

Note: Public Citizen’s call for a BP boycott can be found at www.BeyondBP.org.”

A few hours ago, Facebook censors removed the Boycott BP fan page, which had almost 800,000 members. It’s unclear why Facebook took the boycott page down. The page’s creator Lee Perkins, who goes by the moniker “Bayou Lee,” immediately created a new page, calling it Boycott bp/Arco. Bayou Lee wrote:

I can’t believe they shut us down with no explanation. I could not even say goodbye to my friends. We must have been doing something right.

Bayou Lee’s page was the largest of many Facebook campaigns aimed against BP for its role in causing the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The question many people were asking Monday night was whether this was a deliberate effort by Facebook to silence BP’s biggest critic.

Could Public Citizen, which has been calling for people to boycott BP by taking the Beyond BP pledge, find itself in a similar situation with its Facebook page, 1,000,000 Strong to Boycott BP?

On June 14th, we received a warning from Facebook that

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