July 26, 2008Do you like Peking Duck? Well, don't count on getting it in Europe. Restaurants are being shut down for failing to meet European Union rules, despite the absence of any health problem. Reports the Daily Mail:
It is the nation's favourite Chinese dish — adored by millions and a staple feature on the menus of restaurants and takeaways the length and breadth of Britain.
But Peking Duck could now be forced into extinction by an EU ban on the ovens traditionally used to prepare it.
Council inspectors have been busily visiting restaurants that use the ovens and sealing them closed with tape because they do not carry a CE (ConformitÃ© EuropÃ©enne) mark certifying that the equipment meets safety standards on carbon-monoxide...
July 26, 2008No one ever wants to get cancer, but if you do get it, America is the place to get treated. As Sen. Ted Kennedy doubtless realizes, but will never admit, if he was in Canada both diagnosis and treatment would be slower and inferior, reducing his survival chances.
David Gratzer explains in the Wall Street Journal:
"Your accomplishment of [universal access] is the envy of every U.S. citizen who understands what you've done," Sen. Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.) told a Canadian audience in 1996. This week, a major international study confirms that Mr. Kennedy is right to stay at home for his own cancer care: U.S. medicine bests the cancer treatment available to people in 30 other countries.
The Concord study compares five-year cancer...
July 25, 2008David Evans, who spent six years working for the Australian government on climate change issues, started out a believer in global warming but finds the case has weakened over time. He writes in the Australian:
When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.
The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the...
July 22, 2008The Associated Press was shocked to discover that, gasp!, the oil companies actually pay back their investors. A new AP story is headlined: "AP IMPACT: Big Oil profits steered to investors."
Who would have imagined! The horrors of capitalism, again! What is next? Companies meeting unnecessary and wasteful consumer demand? Destroying small businesses by competing against them with ruinously low prices? Developing frivolous new products that promote consumerism? Will the devastation wrought by free markets never stop?
What happened to the wonderful Soviet model when we really need it?
July 14, 2008On of the most charming aspects of the European Union is its willingness to prosecute people for the most minor offenses, such as satisfying their consumers by continuing to sell by the pound. Great Britain is particularly famous for its "Metric Martyrs." Reports the Daily Telegraph:
As part of his campaign to highlight the state's erosion of our liberties, David Davis - now again MP - visited Ridley Road market in Hackney, east London, to talk to Janet Devers, who runs a fruit and veg stall.
Next January she faces prosecution before a jury on 13 criminal charges arising from the shambles created by the laws which, under EU directives, imposed compulsory use of metric weights and measures.
Mrs Devers is the...
July 7, 2008A British hospital says no. But a suspicious number of foreign liver transplants have been done at one hospital. Reports the BBC:
A London hospital has been referred to health watchdogs after concerns that too many liver transplants are being given to foreign patients.
The Healthcare Commission was alerted after 72 non-British EU nationals were given new livers in four years at King's College Hospital.
Of those, 37 were given to Greek and Cypriot nationals in what were classed as "private" operations.
But the hospital said non-UK patients could not "buy" a transplant.
It said the figures were an anomaly caused because the Greek and Cypriot governments operate a different funding arrangement with the Department of Health than other states.
July 5, 2008It's long been obvious that you don't want to get cancer in Great Britain. (Obviously, you don't want to get it anywhere, but especially in a country which will take your money to provide health care but then won't provide the drugs necessary to save your life.) You don't want to have kidney disease there. Or suffer most any other ailment.
You also don't want to have to go to the dentist there.
Reports Sky News:
Changes in the way dentists are paid mean they effectively have no financial incentive to give appropriate treatment, the Commons Health Select Committee said.
Under the new contract, dentists receive an agreed annual sum rather than being paid for each individual treatment.
June 29, 2008I just criticized the ditzy Europeans for banning the sale of undersize kiwifruit. But now as I go through accumulated emails I come across this story by my friend Quin Hillyer on undersized lobster imports. I'm afraid it's a close contest on which set of regulators is more idiotic. But since people were actually sentenced to jail in the U.S. case, I think America wins the foolishness contest. You decide.
When the story first broke in 1999, the Mobile Register played it tongue-in-cheek. “The defendants,” wrote reporter Mike Wilson, “have proved model prisoners, detained at present at minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit.” And...
June 29, 2008Because you'll get treatment sooner as a dog! Reports Macleans magazine:
Dr. Danny Joffe is only half joking when he says that if he'd fallen asleep on the last day of vet school in Saskatoon and woken up some two decades later in his current workplace, he would not have believed it was an animal hospital. Joffe is one of 11 specialists at the C.A.R.E. Centre, a 28,000-sq.-foot palace of veterinary medicine built two years ago in Calgary by a consortium that owns 23 vet clinics and animal hospitals across British Columbia and Alberta. It has four operating theatres, a $100,000 CT machine, two ultrasound machines, a digital X-ray unit, an endoscopy centre, a lab and 16 examination rooms. Its intensive care unit boasts 20 cages and eight dog runs, staffed 24/7. "...
June 28, 2008The line "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" has long been a comic favorite. As well it should. The Daily Mail reports:
A market trader has been banned from selling a batch of kiwi fruits because they are 1mm smaller than EU rules allow.
Inspectors told 53-year- old Tim Down he is forbidden even to give away the fruits, which are perfectly healthy.
The father of three will now have to bin the 5,000 kiwis, costing him £1,000 in lost sales.
Speaking yesterday from the stall in Bristol he has owned for 20 years, Mr Down said: 'It's total nonsense. I work hard enough to make a living without all these bureaucrats telling us what we can and can't sell.
'They're saying I'm a criminal for selling this fruit,...