Diabetes Drugs Avandia and Actos-More Health Concerns

Two leading diabetes drugs, Avandia manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Actos made by Takeda Pharmaceutical, are under closer scrutiny after a clinical study of more than 144,000 patients found the drugs cause bone fractures. The drugs, classified as TZDs, have already been linked to an increased risk of cardiac problems including heart failure. The new connection to bone fractures appears more problematic than the cardiac connection.
According to the Wall St. Journal, “I think the fracture issue, perhaps more than concerns about cardiovascular events, could impact how doctors use TZDs in the future,” said Steven Kahn, author of the first study that found fracture risk in late 2006 with Avandia.
Diabetes patients taking Avandia or Actos were found to be 43% more likely to experience a fracture than non-users of the drugs.
According to health officials, TZD drugs diminish bone density by diminishing osteoblast activity which is the body’s bone-building process.

NY Child Victim Act Amended: Now There’s No Excuse

In a move that caught both sides of the debate off guard, Rep. Margaret Markey has announced that she’ll amend the Child Victim Act to include public institutions as well as private organizations in the bill designed to protect children and punish sexual predators and the institutions that protect them.
A spokesperson for the NY State Catholic Conference seemed dumbfounded when confronted with the news. Dennis Poust, quoted in the NY Times, stated, “This is not what we expected; this is something new.”
An interesting quote from the representative of the NY Catholic dioceses. They wanted to kill the bill entirely by calling it unjust and unfair. Now that the amendment has been offered removing the inequity they are caught in a difficult situation. They have no excuse to keep fighting the bill. That is, of course, if they’re interested in protecting children.
The Catholic Church is in a public relations jam with this new revelation. They can’t appear to oppose the bill now that their main objection has been removed. On the other hand, if the bill passes and becomes law, their secrets and the manner in which they shuffled offending priests around will be exposed.
While anything can happen in politics, this should be a no brainer. The NY legislators should overwhelmingly support this legislation. We’ll see what happens.

Brooklyn Bishop May Face IRS Scrutiny for Threatening Comments

When Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio went off on a tirade about the pending Child Victim Act legislation in the state of New York, he didn’t stop to think his threats may draw scrutiny from the IRS over the church’s tax exempt status.
Margaret Markey, sponsor of the Child Victim Act, has called into question the bishop’s actions after he threatened NY state lawmakers with the closure of Catholic churches in their districts if the legislators support the child abuse prevention bill.
Markey stated, “He’s on the borderline of jeopardizing his not-for-profit status” by openly politicking, she said. “If I were the bishop, I would walk very cautiously.”
The Bishop’s responded through a priest saying she’s lying.
Lying about what? DiMarzio admitted he made the threats and has been active in efforts to kill the bill. So, what is Rep. Markey lying about?

Blackmailing Brooklyn Bishop Won’t Back Down

Until now, not too many folks would compare the popular TV gangster Tony Soprano with Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. After what happened at his Clinton NY residence last October, perhaps a few NY state legislators will make a connection between the two.
According to the legislators in attendance at the Bishop’s residence last fall, DiMarzio brought up the subject of Rep. Margaret Markey’s bill the Child Victim’s Act. According to the legislators, DiMarzio became so incensed he threatened to close local parishes in the legislative districts of those supporting the bill. According to one anonymous legislator, DiMarzio ranted, “He said, ‘If it passes, we will close a parish in each of your districts and we will tell your constituents that it was your fault,’ ”
Under normal circumstances, legislators don’t take kindly to threats of blackmail. However, this is the Catholic Church in New York, a powerful institution with deep pockets and long institutional tentacles that can influence, cajole, even threaten the highest ranking officials.
DiMarzio’s feeling the heat and will stop at nothing to defeat the Child Victim’s Act, even if it means blackmailing and threatening state legislators. It’s amazing to me that the bishop only spoke to the legislators about the money his diocese would stand to lose in lawsuits if the bill passes and becomes law. There no mention of any concern for the thousand of kids molested and ruined by sexually abusive priests and nuns. It’s all about the money and protecting the institution.
When DiMarzio’s in public he knows the bon mot and speaks about his concern for victims. In private, he’s the don of an institution that doesn’t give a wit about children. It’s all about the money.

Acid Reflux Drugs Associated with Pneumonia

Certain proton pump inhibitor drugs designed to treat acid reflux have been linked to an increase in pneumonia. Some of those associated with the higher risk included Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid.
Dr. Shoshana J. Herzig, chief medical resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, is referenced in the NY Times’ article about acid reflux drugs and pneumonia. According to Herzig, the acid reflux drug suppress stomach acid but may promote the growth of another bacteria in the upper gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tracts. This may be the source of the increased in pneumonia for those taking the acid reflux drugs.
Other acid reflux drugs, notaby Pepcid and Zantac aren’t associated with the increased pneumonia risk because they are histamine-2 receptor antagonists.

Connecticut Supreme Court Orders Bridgeport Bishop to Release Documents

It’s been more than a decade long court fight but finally the Diocese of Bridgeport will be forced to hand over more than 12,000 pages of documents concerning priest abuse. The Diocese, which had been headed by none other than Cardinal Edward Egan prior to his departure for NY, had fought for years to keep the documents out of the public eye.
Even in the the midst of defeat, a diocesan spokesperson struck a defiant tone. “”From the anti-church rhetoric of the first trial judge who proceeded to ‘invent’ an entirely new procedure to accommodate the press, to the lack of an impartial trial judge to reconsider the case on remand from the Connecticut Supreme Court, the history of this case raises issues that should be of concern to all. We are, therefore, currently reviewing our options in response to this decision.”
The Hartford Courant is among 3 other newspapers fighting to obtain the internal church documents. Just as they did in Los Angeles, the Connecticut documents will very likely reveal a complicit cardinal in the midst of a priest sexual abuse coverup. Egan may very well join Los Angeles’ Mahony and Boston’s Law in terms of infamy and notoriety.

Retiring NY Bishop Cites 8th Commandment as Reason for Not Revealing Priest Abuser Names

As he prepared to retire, 76 year old Syracuse bishop James Moynihan agreed to an exit interview of sorts with the local newspaper, the Post-Standard. During the interview, Moynihan was asked about the priest abuse scandal and his refusal to publicly reveal the names of priests in the Diocese of Syracuse who were accused of sexual abuse of minors.
Moynihan scoffed at the idea and took his brother bishops to task for revealing the names of priest abusers in other dioceses. The Post-Standard quotes Moynihan as saying, “We’re not supposed to,” he said. “It’s against the Eighth Commandment.”
Going a bit further, Moynihan chided his fellow bishops. “They shouldn’t,” he said. “They should remember their Baltimore Catechism.”
Well. . .I’m at a loss for words. The Eighth Commandment states, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Last time I checked the commandment concerns lying or spreading lies about another person. It doesn’t have anything to do with the socially and morally responsible action of publicizing known child predators who remain a danger to the welfare of children! I’m flabbergasted that a Catholic bishop would use one of the 10 Commandments to defend keeping secret the names of pedophiles and child abusers.
It’s just this sort of commentary that demonstrates why the NY State Legislature needs to pass the Child Victim Act. The Church isn’t going to voluntarily reveal the names of those who’ve abused children. We need legislation to allow survivors access to the civil justice system. The Catholic Church in Ireland is facing a similar credibility issue. The Irish government revealed its report concerning the shocking abuse of thousands of children who were in the control of Catholic orphanages and boarding schools. Yet the report never revealed the names of the abusers. This is half-baked justice.

Obama Curtails Preemption

In what some see as a precursor to the passage of the 2009 Medical Device Safety Act, President Obama issued a memorandum to federal agencies rescinding the pre-emptive policies of the previous Administration. In the memorandum, Obama seeks to roll back aggressive federal regulations to override state laws concerning the environment, health, and public safety. The Bush Administration’s preemption policy protected large corporations, often making them immune from civil lawsuits designed to protect the health and welfare of consumers.
Ironically, it’s usually the Republicans advocating for state’s rights. However, in this strange new political world, it’s a Democratic president who is restoring the rights of states in order to protect consumers.

Irish Priest Abuse Report Shocking but Short on Details

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report concerning Catholic clergy abuse of young children in Ireland reads worse than a Charles Dickens novel. The depravity, horror, and cruelty depicted in the physical and sexual abuse of minor boys and girls is shocking. It’s all the more egregious when the boys and girls sent to these Catholic boarding schools, really orphanages, were sent there because their parents couldn’t afford to pay for their upbringing or they were somehow determined morally incapable of rearing children. In separating children from their parents, the Irish government and the Catholic Church colluded and conspired to reign terror down on these children, permanently scarring many of them for life.
While the Irish report is shocking, it falls short and scandalously so. The 2,600 page report which took 9 years to produce doesn’t mention one clergy person of the 500 or so accused of committing physical and sexual abuse on the children. Let me say it again- none of the perpetrators names were mentioned in the report! That’s like a Watergate investigation that doesn’t mention Haldeman, Ehrlichman, or Nixon. How’s justice come from a report that doesn’t accuse wrongdoers of crimes?
Hopefully, the fight isn’t over in Ireland. Survivor advocates must stand up to the Catholic Church in Ireland and the Irish government and demand they release the names of the abusers. If they’re still alive, they need to face the criminal justice system or the civil justice system.
Consumer justice lawyers who’ve helped abuse survivors here in the US may be able to lend a hand. The Alien Tort Claims Act is a federal law which reads: “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” The Alien Tort Claims Act or ATCA is specifically designed to address human rights violations.
There’s no greater human rights violation than the torture, physcial abuse, and sexual abuse of young children. Many of these torture chamber schools were run by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious order founded in Ireland in the 19th century. It was the same Christian Brothers who delayed the publication of this report and filed a lawsuit to have all the names of the offending priests, brothers, and religious sisters redacted from the report. Their lawsuit was successful.
The Irish Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has rocked the church in Ireland and left in its wake resignations including an Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds, Ferns Bishop Brendan Comiskey, and Justice Mary Laffoy resigns in protest over the church obstruction of the investigation.
Two more reports will be published, one from the Archdiocese of Dublin and one from the Diocese of Cloyne, this year.
The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report is more than that. Sadly, it’s a scandalous miscarriage of justice and human rights.

Priest Abuse and Archbishop Weakland

Archbishop Rembert Weakland, OSB resigned his post as Archbishop of Milwaukee in disgrace in 2002 after revelations surfaced that he had secretly paid Paul Marcoux $450,000 to keep quiet about their sexual affair. After the revelations surfaced, Marcoux spoke to the media and told his side of the story. According to him, the relationship was more akin to date rape and its cessation caused him financial hardship.
Now, Weakland is set to publish his memoirs, “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church” where he writes about the sexual abuse scandal and his own struggle with homosexuality. In the book, scheduled to hit newsstands in a few months, Weakland states that he knew sexual abuse was a moral evil but didn’t understand the criminal nature of the acts. In pleading ignorance, Weakland defends his inaction concerning abusive clergy in the memoir.
However, victim advocacy groups are releasing documents that refute these claims. In one letter to a nun concerning a sexually abusive priest, Weakland wrote, “So far, we have succeeded in preserving his reputation, and I hope we are able to do so in the future.” The priest, Rev. Lawrence Murphy has been accused of multiple child rapes including the rapes of numerous boys at the St. John School for the Deaf in St. Francis.
Once again, a bishop’s self-excusing testimony doesn’t coincide with the historical facts that are revealed in documents and letters from the time. In their attempt to re-write history, the bishops, including Weakland forget there’s a paper trail of documents lingering in secret archives of dioceses and archdioceses around the world. These are the documents that tell the true story of what actually happened.
As in the recently concluded priest sex abuse trial in Seattle, the only way to find the truth is to bring the abusers and the officials who covered for them into a courtroom. Under penalty of civil law, the truth is revealed and church officials can’t hide behind the public relations machine or their personal/spiritual charisma.