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. . .takin’ the “BS” out’a the BlogoSphere (and MSM), one shovel-full at a time

Va. HJR 694 BS Report — Helpful as Pigeon Poop on the Pump Handle

Bloged in Miscellaneous, Spin, Virginia, Sludge by Gutter Grunt Sunday February 8, 2009 at about 9:25 pm

Last year the Va. “expert panel” on BS checked in with its final report. There has been a fair amount of media coverage and Email chatter among sludge-warriors, but mostly over the way Synagro’s Virginia Biosolids Council put the spin on the Report’s conclusions.

I have had a close look at the Report, and it ain’t too good, in my opinion. Here’s a link to a long spew (Spew #16) on it back at the Mother Site: http://www.something-stinks.com/Feb09.htm

To re-state my conclusion verbatim:

“When has so much time been so badly wasted on such a listless and meaningless endeavor as this? Even by a state government. Hardly a single valid conclusion or useful recommendation in the whole 61 pages. In short: The HJR 694 report is as helpful as pigeon poop on the pump handle. I could have produced a far more informative, accurate, and helpful report by assigning the task to a group of high school students as a joint senior research project. But the troubling aspect is the deceit.”

This Report was cooked by the sludgers and then spun by Synagro. What a tag-team.

At the bottom of my rant I link to objections to the Report that were submitted jointly by two members of the panel: Henry Staudinger and Alan Rubin. If you don’t have time to wade through my drivel, drop down to the bottom and have a look at the way Satudinger/Rubin slammed the Report. That is definitely worth your time. (I would give you a direct link, but it’s been so long since I’ve fired up WordPress I don’t remember how to add the hyperlinks.)

May I Present . . .Mr. Ed Hallman

Bloged in Miscellaneous, Litigation, Spin by Gutter Grunt Saturday May 31, 2008 at about 7:18 pm

I guess this lawyer, Ed Hallman, of the Atlanta law firm Decker, Hallman, Barber & Briggs, has done more for the anti-BS effort than any other single individual I know. And let me just quickly follow that up by saying that I know a lot of dedicated individuals in this game. People who have committed immense amounts of time, energy, and money to the goal of ending land-application of BS, and for no other reason than to see that the right thing is done, particularly with respect to the rural people who are forced to eat BS spread all over the Atlantic Coast by Synagro, Nuti-Blend, and many smaller players. A few of these sludge-warriors do this work as a part of their job and get some remuneration, but many of them are slogging away week after week without a dime of compensation for their efforts. Every one of them is a part of the effort that will — eventually — eliminate all land application of sewage sludge in this country.


LA Times Tells Why the EPA is a National Disgrace

Bloged in Miscellaneous, Spin by Gutter Grunt Tuesday April 29, 2008 at about 4:08 am

In my day job, which pays the web hosting fees for this blog, I’m a patent lawyer. And the reason I tell you that is to make the point that the US Patent and Trademark Office and the US EPA must be running a race to see which one can do the most damage to the country. There are real issues here that go beyond the normal incompetence we expect from large bureaucracies; there are issues of dishonesty and misleading the public and Congress.

The other thing these agencies have in common is that they are powered by b’cratic mules who, by and large, are competent and who work hard to do a good job. But the damage is done by the high-paid, nano-cephalic, nematode managers, like Jon Dudas and Margaret Peterlin in the USPTO and Stephen Johnson, John Walker, and Alan Rubin of, or formerly of, the EPA, who could screw up a one-car funeral and call it a success.

Now comes a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists telling us what David Lewis, who was the victim of career and character assassination by the EPA, has been hollaring for years: the EPA heavies gag the front line scientists who deliver scientific results that contradict EPA policy. Here is a report from the LA Times. (Thanks, Jo.) Nowhere has this scientific censorship been more of a problem than in the EPA’s suppression of evidence that the EPA’s policy of spreading BS from sea to shining sea was a real, real bad idea.

Gagging people, particularly scientists with hard data, who raise valid criticisms of government policy is the way Stalin worked. It’s the way you breed contempt and distrust of the government. It’s the way you destroy a government.

Fortunately, the US has a federal judiciary, like Judge Alaimo in the US Southern District Court of Georgia and Judge Cacheris in the US Eastern District Court of Virginia, who are more than willing to spank these dangerous governmental thugs if we can just get them into court.

And now, a word from our (other) Canadian sludge warrior . . .

Bloged in Miscellaneous, Spin by Gutter Grunt Sunday April 27, 2008 at about 9:38 pm

When I moved to Canada from Virginia, my Virginia friends said “Won’t it be good to get away from all of this sludge.” Ha, ha, ha, . . . joke’s on me. Some areas of Canada have got to be as stinking bad as anything in the US. Even Buckingham and Appomattox Counties, Virginia. Maybe we should hold a BS tournament and give a golden honey bucket to the most sludged area.

Marueen Reilly has her eye on what’s going down (literally) on both sides of the border. She publishes the e-Newsletter “Sludge Watch.” No one is more determined or more tireless in their efforts to stop the spreading of toxic sludge in Canada and the US than Maureen. My guess is that she knows as much about the subject as anyone living, and I know for sure that her observations are keener than anyone’s, and that includes the academics, who mostly seem to be just following up on her leads.

True to form, Marueen has let rip with a critique of that notorious human experiment carried out in Baltimore:

“Biosolids compost amendment for reducing soil lead hazards: a pilot study amendment and grass seeding in urban yards” by Farfel, Orlova, Chaney, Lees, Rohde, Ashley Science of the Total Environment. 340(1-3):81-95

I have published Maureen’s cutting analysis over at the Mother Site. Link here. She asks some very direct questions about the procedures used, the design, and the results of the study. Mark Farfel and Rufus Chaney ought to do themselves a favor and hire Maureen as a consultant to help them design their next far-fetched, abysmal piece of . . . research.

Johns Hopkins Rolls Out the Sludge-Spin

Bloged in Miscellaneous, Spin by Gutter Grunt Saturday April 26, 2008 at about 10:49 am

When I was an avid listener of National Public Radio, I often noticed that when an interview was on a subject I knew zip about, the interviewer always seemed so brilliant and asked such pointed questions. But when the interview was on a subject within my (admittedly limited) sphere of knowledge, the interviewer seemed clueless and missed every opportunity to deflect or detect spin. An NPR interview on the Johns Hopkins human experiments on Baltimore children is a good example of the later. See my Apr 14 blog post on the experiments.

The interview, dated April 24, was conducted by Farai Chideya. Here’s a link to the audio, it’s about 12 minutes long. (Thanks Maureen) Chideya starts out interviewing John Heilprin, one of the reporters who exposed this Nazi-inspired human research with a series of AP articles, which, apparently isn’t finished yet.

Then Chideya dials into the Hopkins spin machine and gets Dr. Michael Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at JHU. Klag attacks the AP article on the grounds that the BS that was put in the kids’ yards was totally safe because it was Class A, which is the good stuff – Class B is the stuff to worry about. No damage, no foul. What a load of BS.

Does Chideya go after him? Does she point out that Class A sludge has the same exact risks as Class B for being contaminated with pharmaceuticals, thallium, mercury, cadmium, dioxins, drug resistance genes, or any of thousands of additional toxic metals, synthetic organics and biologicals? Does Chideya confront Klag with what Dr. Thomas Burke, who chaired the 2002 NAS report on BS and who is also a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in the original AP article about the Class A BS that was spread in the kiddie experiments?

“There are potential pathogens and chemicals that are not in the realm of safe,” Burke told the AP. “What’s needed are more studies on what’s going on with the pathogens in sludge — are we actually removing them? The commitment to connecting the dots hasn’t been there.”

Nope, not a single pointed question. Chideya gives this Rovian spin-meister, Klag, the last word: the BS was as safe as mothers’ milk. He was, of course, talking straight to the potential jurors who are going to hear this case when Hopkins gets sued for fraud or when the researchers who conducted the experiments go on trial for child endangerment.

But now it looks like Burke, who, of course works for Klag, is being forced into line. Over at Yahoo.com LINK they have tagged the following note onto an op ed of Apr 21 titled “Of Sludge and Syphilis”:

“Update: A Kennedy Krieger Institute representative has contacted us to dispute the accuracy of the AP report cited. The materials used in the Baltimore study were Class A grade, and are sold commercially for residential use. We spoke with Thomas Burke, one of the experts cited in the original AP report, who confirmed their safety. According to Burke, his quote–and the EPA reports referenced in the article–were referring to the potential hazards of Class B sludge. No correction has yet been posted on the AP website.”

Burke’s retraction is as smelly as his boss’ spin-job. After all, in his original quote to AP Burke is asking the question of whether “we” are actually removing all of the pathogens from the sludge. Well . . . hello – Class A is the only sludge in which any attempt is made to reduce pathogens to acceptable levels. Furthermore, the whole AP interview was about Class A. There was never any confusion about what class was put down. So of course Burke was referring to Class A.

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