Pop quiz. For its annual convention the American Public Health Association (APHA) chose as its keynote speaker: (a) a top government health official; (b) a Nobel Laureate scientist; or (c) an activist and shark assistant who’s 20 percent silicone and 80 percent hot air.
The answer, unfortunately, was “c” — paralegal Erin Brockovich. According to the APHA, she discussed “her research and groundbreaking work in the area of industrial environmental negligence, its devastating effects on the public’s health, and her continued pursuit for justice for those who have been harmed.”
In fact, as I have been writing for four years, Enhanced Erin pursues only that which leads to fame or fortune. Thus in the Hinkley, California lawsuit (falsely represented in her eponymous film) that made her both celebrated and rich, there never was evidence of any excess illness.
Now her firm is suing Beverly Hills High School and practically every oil company in existence, claiming fumes from a rig on campus have caused a cancer epidemic among former students. “These statistics are 20 times higher than the national average for these specific cancers,” Brockovich told a credulous media. But a University of Southern California study found no abnormal cancer rate among the alumni and after a contempt of court threat, Brockovich’s firm admitted the “20 times” figure was fabricated.
No matter, for that’s exactly what the APHA finds truly sexy about Brockovich — her attacks on corporate America. You might expect that from a group that hosts a “Peace Caucus” and a “Socialist Caucus.” In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen a person actually reading the Communist Party USA newspaper was at an APHA meeting — where I saw several.
One major target at the convention was pesticide use. Among the sessions:
• “Healthy hospitals: Controlling Pests without Harmful Pesticides,” based on promulgations by the extremist groups Health Care Without Harm and Beyond Pesticides.
• “National Prevalence of Chemical Hypersensitivity and the Medical Diagnosis of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.” (This might be interesting if the disorder actually existed.)
• “Human Exposure to Pesticides and Fertilizers among Qat Producers and Consumers in Yemen.” (No, that’s not Yemen, Ohio. Apparently the APHA couldn’t find enough problems in the U.S. And qat, by the way, is an amphetamine-like narcotic shrub.)
• And a personal favorite: Tobacco companies’ attempts to manage public perception of tobacco pesticide risks.p>Goodness, we wouldn’t want to expose smokers to something that might be harmful! br> br> But Kevin Marchman, executive director of the National Organization of African Americans in Housing (NOAAH), knows pesticides used in the U.S. are safe, and that foods grown with them should be chewed — not eschewed. He said so in letters to both the APHA and the Congressional Black Caucus. /p>
“While I’m sure Erin Brockovich is an expert in these areas,” he told me sardonically, “we don’t need the APHA to highlight activists who focus on issues of little importance to average Americans.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?