Stay F---! | 10 November

Carrie McLaren at
Wed Nov 10 00:04:59 EST 2004

Posted at:


If you are a paid subscriber and are getting this twice, email at and I'll make things right.


I'm finally getting around to adding material from Issue #22 to the 
website. We begin with "World View," our random newsbytes section:

(Sorry, no photos on the site. I'm lazy.)


Patients undergoing cardiac surgery can now look forward to hearing 
new age music and calming voices while under the knife. Doctors at 
prominent hospitals are increasingly recommending the use of guided 
imagery tapes, which are played through earphones while patients are 
under anesthesia. A calm female voice beckons patients to "feel new 
strength flowing through you, through arteries that are wider and 
more open . . . than before."

To assure patients that their doctors are reliable, the voice coos 
that medical devices "will be removed by wise and sure hands at just 
the right time, when your body is ready, no sooner, no later." While 
there is no real evidence yet that the tapes have any effect, they 
are marketed as a way of improving patients' recovery. Audio samples 
of these tapes can be found on the Ohio-based Health Journeys 
website, including affirmations for other conditions like irritable 
bowel syndrome, depression, and menopause. (Wall Street Journal, 

* * * *

The photo developing departments at several national chain stores 
routinely censor customer orders. A Walgreen's in Ohio, for example, 
removed a photo of a shirtless man wearing a nipple ring from 
customer Calvin Johnson's roll--and threw away the negatives.

An assistant manager told Johnson that film developers are under no 
obligation to print photos they deem offensive, "If someone doesn't 
approve of the subject matter," he said, "each employee has the right 
[to discard photos] as they see it."

CVS, Eckerds, and Rite-Aid have similar policies. Wal-Mart's policy 
is even more sweeping: if employees come across any photographs 
containing nudity of any kind--kids in a bathtub, for instance--they 
are required to call the police. (, 4/14/04)



Meanwhile, outside the Stay F---! web universe, there's:

By Malcolm Gladwell

Let me preface this by saying that I think Malcolm Gladwell 
( is a bit of a charlatan. His modus operandi is 
to put forth a counterintuitive argument, then cleverly select points 
that advance his thesis while ignoring and obscuring those that 
don't. Still, he raises a good point here: one reason prescription 
drugs costs are skyrocketing in America is because Americans are 
taking a lot more drugs. The rest of his argument is, however, pure 

"The emphasis of the prescription-drug debate is all wrong," Gladwell 
writes. "We've been focused on the drug manufacturers. But decisions 
about prevalence, therapeutic mix, and intensity aren't made by the 
producers of drugs. They're made by the consumers of drugs."

See, friends, it's not the drug company's fault that your colitis 
medication is almost $600, it's YOURS. What's especially weird is 
that Gladwell himself acknowledges the power of deceptive marketing 
and patent-law abuses--practices that the average consumer is, for 
all practical purposes, helpless against. But in Gladwell's fantasy 
world, doctors, health insurers, and consumers should take 
responsibility for drug company shenanigans. In making his case, 
Gladwell conveniently ignores the fact that drug companies have done 
everything they can to prevent studies comparing competing drugs to 
one another, and to prevent the reporting of negative data from 
clinical trials.

How come, when I'm prescribed a drug, there is no way for me to 
report the drug's effectiveness: did it help? did it hurt? If there 
were some reliable, independent resource that collected this data--a 
sort of "Consumer Reports" for pharmaceuticals--then maybe patients 
would have a tool to balance corporations' marketing muscle. (Such a 
resource would also help in filling out the shortcomings of clinical 
trials.) But with nothing of a kind, and with only flashy--and often 
misleading--advertisements to fill the gap, neither the little old 
lady in Omaha nor the hyperinformed New York journalist has much to 
go on.

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Serious, noncommercial, online journalism.
Get the real scoop on labor, environment, health, civics, & more.



Today I got bored with myself and posted a few links about electronic 
voting up at (a domain I registered a while back). One 
noteworthy item is a video excerpt of MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith 
Olbermann," which does a hard-hitting roundup of voting inaccuracies 
in last week's election. Several counties in Florida and Ohio, for 
example, had more votes than voters! See  (aka



In the wake of the Presidential election, our friends in Canada have 
stepped in to lend a hand by offering "desperate" single Americans a 
pathway to freedom:



Neato photo archive of overworked Japnese business men sleeping (or 
passed out) on trains, sidewalks, and even staircases:

that's all for now,

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