January 31st, 2011

yeah so no
  • homasse

So a rapist/murderer evades capture for 2 years...and becomes a best seller. OK!

Ichihashi book details life on run
Suspect in Hawker slaying recounts 31-month flight from justice, calls work 'act of contrition'

Accused killer Tatsuya Ichihashi has written a book that will be released Wednesday detailing his 31 months on the run after fleeing police who went to his Chiba apartment in 2007 to inquire about missing Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker.

The book, "Taiho Sarerumade — Kuuhaku no Ninen Nanakagetsu no Kiroku" ("Before I Was Arrested — Records of the Blank Two Years and Seven Months"), published by Gentosha Inc., traces Ichihashi's life as a fugitive, including hiding on a remote island in Okinawa, and how he tried to disfigure himself to evade capture.

A press release from Gentosha said Ichihashi notes in the introduction that he wrote the book "as part of an act of contrition for the crime," and said he plans to hand over any royalties to Hawker's family.

The body of the 22-year-old English teacher was found stuffed in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's Chiba apartment after he fled the scene barefoot.

According to media reports, a representative of the Hawker family said they are "disgusted" and "hurt" that Ichihashi wrote and published the book prior to his trial, which is expected to take place later this year, and said they want "nothing more than justice" for their murdered daughter.

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This is disgusting. What's also disgusting? This book is on the bestseller list already in Japan (it came out last week, and on Amazon.co.jp, it's currently #4 for books overall, and #1 for nonfiction). He's not getting any of the profits, but still, wtf. Hawker's parents are angry about this, and rightfully so.

I also don't buy this is an "act of contrition," especially with this coming out before his trial. It's like he's going for leniency by trying to show he's sorry.

If you don't know about the case, you can read the Wiki article about it, but all rape/murder triggers apply.

Also, the pilgrimage being referred to is going to the 88 Buddhist shrines on Shikoku.

After I submitted this, I found a slightly better article, here, and now I'm really side-eying the whole "act of contrition" thing because, when talking about having to do construction work to make money for all the plastic surgery he had done to evade the law, he describes it as being "tough" and "the price I have to pay. Hawker had to suffer more pain. I took Lindsay's life and that fact does not change."

Can we lower medical costs by providing better care to the neediest patients?

The Hot Spotters
If Camden, New Jersey, becomes the first American community to lower its medical costs, it will have a murder to thank. Collapse )

Read the entire article at the New Yorker.

For the tl;dr crowd, let me sum up:
  1. After the scandal above, Brenner is asked to participate in a police reform commission. The commission recommends that the police start to build crime charts for the city, and reroute patrols to the higher-crime areas. The police respond to this with basically "lol whatevs." Brenner gets the data himself--mostly from the local hospitals--and builds his own maps. The police get pissy, the unions step in and the idea is shitcanned. The commission disbands. But now Brenner has all of this interesting data.

  2. Brenner starts looking at the data, specifically at the way patients flow in and out of the hospitals:
    “I’d just sit there and play with the data for hours,” he says, and the more he played the more he found. For instance, he ran the data on the locations where ambulances picked up patients with fall injuries, and discovered that a single building in central Camden sent more people to the hospital with serious falls--fifty-seven elderly in two years--than any other in the city, resulting in almost three million dollars in health-care bills. “It was just this amazing window into the health-care delivery system,” he says.

    So he took what he learned from police reform and tried a Compstat approach to the city’s health-care performance—a Healthstat, so to speak. He made block-by-block maps of the city, color-coded by the hospital costs of its residents, and looked for the hot spots. The two most expensive city blocks were in north Camden, one that had a large nursing home called Abigail House and one that had a low-income housing tower called Northgate II. He found that between January of 2002 and June of 2008 some nine hundred people in the two buildings accounted for more than four thousand hospital visits and about two hundred million dollars in health-care bills. One patient had three hundred and twenty-four admissions in five years. The most expensive patient cost insurers $3.5 million.

  3. Brenner figures that if he can find the people who are getting the worst care--people who cycle in and out of the emergency rooms because that's their only available form of medical care--and give them better care, he can both improve their lives and lower costs. (Insert thisisbrandnewinformation.gif here.)

  4. Brenner founds the Camden Coalition to work with these patients: not just give them better medical care, but treat the source of their problems: poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, etc. "The Camden Coalition has been able to measure its long-term effect on its first thirty-six super-utilizers. They averaged sixty-two hospital and E.R. visits per month before joining the program and thirty-seven visits after—a forty-per-cent reduction. Their hospital bills averaged $1.2 million per month before and just over half a million after—a fifty-six-per-cent reduction."

The results are as much anecdotal as hard data at the moment, but they're moving forward. The article is long but well worth a read.

Barack Obama braces for Jon Huntsman 2012 bid

The White House expects Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to China, to resign his post this spring to explore a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, top Democrats said.

GOP allies of Huntsman have already begun laying plans for a quick-start campaign should the former Utah governor decide to enter the ill-defined Republican field.

While Huntsman has no direct involvement in it, a group of operatives that could eventually comprise his strategy team has set up an entity called “Horizon PAC” to serve as a placeholder for his political apparatus.

The PAC will be run by Susie Wiles, a Florida-based Republican strategist who recently managed the campaign of newly-inaugurated Gov. Rick Scott.

Huntsman has avoided publicly discussing the possibility of a bid against the president who appointed him, but he’s sending signals that make clear he’s serious about a run now – not in 2016, when many top officials in both the GOP and the White House assumed he’d run. (See: Huntsman keeps his options open)

Over the holidays, the ex-governor met with Sen. John McCain, whose 2008 presidential run Huntsman backed early on. In a discussion with the senator, who is the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, about a variety of issues, Huntsman made plain that he was eyeing a White House campaign in the near term, according to a source close to the senator. (See: All smiles for Hu Jintao)

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Military to discharged gay soldiers: You owe us for not serving your full term!

Adding insult to injury, the Defense Department — after discharging gay service members under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — apparently sends these former soldiers a bill, demanding they pay back “unearned portions” of their contracts.

Dan Choi, the high profile gay rights activist and Iraq war veteran discharged last year under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has received a bill for $2,500 (PDF), which the federal government claims is the “unearned portion” of his re-enlistment bonus.

And Choi’s response: “I refuse to pay a cent.”

In 2008, Choi was paid a $10,000 bonus for enlisting in the National Guard for three years. Now that he has been discharged under the military’s ban on openly gay service members, the Defense Department says he owes $2,500 for failing “to satisfactorily complete that assigned term,” according to a military spokesman.

As Choi sees it, his involuntary discharge came from an “unethical policy” and refuses to repay that money.

“It would be easy to pay the $2500 bill and be swiftly done with this diseased chapter of my life, where I sinfully deceived and tolerated self-hatred under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Choi wrote in a letter this week to President Barack Obama.

“My obligations to take a stand, knowing all the continued consequences of my violations, are clear. I refuse to pay your claim.”

According to the demand letter, if Choi did not pay his debt within 30 days, the Department said it could refer his account to a private collection agency, or seek legal action through the Justice Department, and report the delinquency to credit bureaus.

Chibis- Keith Gaga

The Birther Plan To Block Obama's Reelection

The Birther Plan To Block Obama's Reelection

Mon Jan. 31, 2011 3:00 AM PST

The birthers have a plan to end Barack Obama's presidency—and in Arizona, they're making progress.

Last week, Arizona state Rep. Judy Burges, a Republican, introduced a bill that would bar presidential candidates who do not prove they were born in the United States from appearing on the ballot in the Grand Canyon state. And state Rep. Chad Campbell, the top Democrat in the GOP-controlled Arizona House of Representatives, tells Mother Jones that the bill is likely to pass. It was introduced with 25 co-sponsors in the House and 16 co-sponsors in the state Senate; the measure needs 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate for approval. "Will it matter?" asks Campbell. "We've started a tradition here of passing legislation that is political grandstanding or that sets up litigation."

But the birthers—those ardent Obama foes who believe the president was not born in Hawaii and, thus, is not constitutionally qualified serve as president—see this measure as more than symbolic. For them, it's part of a well-orchestrated campaign to deny Obama reelection.
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Catsby down under.

Airport security officials brand three inch toy gun "firearm"

It may be three inches long and made of plastic – but that didn’t stop a toy soldier’s gun being branded a “firearm” by zealous airport officials.

Ken Lloyd and his wife bought the “signaller crouching” figurine during a recent visit to the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford Garrison.

But when the box containing the figure passed through the scanning machine at Gatwick airport, security officials declared the tiny plastic rifle a “firearm”.

Husband, Ken Lloyd, said his wife had demanded “a reality check”.

“The antenna was individually scanned as suspect and as the figurine’s SA80 rifle was pulled from the box, the security search officer contacted her supervisor,” he said.

Mrs Lloyd was directed back to the airport concourse and made her way to a branch of WH Smith and bought a padded envelope to post the rifle home.

“The two patrolling policemen didn’t seem to mind. They didn’t even notice. The numerous security people sitting around the concourse didn't leap to their feet as she passed,” said Mr Lloyd.

But when she tried to post the padded envelope, she hit another set back.

“These small padded envelopes are guaranteed to comply with postal regulations anywhere in the world, except Gatwick airport. The security mail slot was too narrow,” she said.

Mrs Lloyd was directed to the airport’s customer service department for suggestions on how to post the envelope.

They agreed to scan the sealed envelope to save reopening it, but it was too light to activate the scanner.

A radio was placed on the scanner and the envelope was X-rayed and posted by the customer service person.

Five days later, it arrived at the Lloyds’ home in Canada.

Royal Signals Museum spokesman Adam Forty said: “The Royal Signals Museum is a military museum and takes security very seriously, especially around military installations and airports, but this does seem more than a little excessive. “The ‘firearm’ is three inches long and cast out of resin. It’s probably just as well we didn’t sell her a toy tank.”

Bournemouth Echo

Gay Marine’s husband surprised at respect shown by Naval Academy

John Fliszar had a heart attack in 2006 and was rushed to Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

“When I was in the emergency room with him, he asked me to promise him, if he died, to make sure his ashes were interred in the Naval Academy,” said Mark Ketterson. “He loved that place. He very much wanted to be there.”

Fliszar, a Marine aviator who served two tours in Vietnam, survived that heart attack. But last July the Albany Park resident suffered another one that killed him at age 61.

Hoping to fulfill Fliszar’s wishes, Ketterson contacted the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and told them that Fliszar, Class of ’71, had wanted to have his ashes interred at the USNA’s Columbarium, a serene white marble waterside crypt next to the school’s cemetery.

The memorial coordinator asked about his relationship to the deceased. Ketterson said that John Fliszar was his husband.

“They were always polite, but there was this moment of hesitation,” Ketterson recalled. “They said they’re going to need something in writing from a blood relative. They asked, ‘Are you listed on the death certificate?’ ‘Do you have a marriage license?’ ”

He was and they did, the couple having been married in Des Moines when gay marriage became legal in Iowa two years ago.

Ketterson sent a copy of the marriage license. That changed everything.

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Republican Pickup Truck Owner Fears Rhinoceros Attack In Missouri

What is ruining America for middle-aged white guys who drive monstrous pickup trucks around the Ozarks thanks to the oil from Islamofascist dictatorships? Oh, the usual: President Obama, “the news media,” and higher education. Also, beware of “rhinos,” also.


Republicans to the American People: "Let them Eat Caviar"

Bleeding Heart Republicans to Make Sure that their Wealthy Chinese Masters, Bankers, and Wall Street Overlords Wont go Hungry this Year.

'Pay China First' -- Republicans' Wild Plan To Avoid U.S. Debt Default

New Republican legislation in the House and Senate would force the U.S. government to reroute huge amounts of money to China and other creditors in the event that Congress fails to raise its debt ceiling.

"I intend to introduce legislation that would require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority in the event that the debt ceiling is not raised," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed.

If passed, Toomey's plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreign countries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to Social Security beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury -- that is, if the U.S. hits its debt ceiling. Republican leaders insist they will raise the country's debt limit before this happens. But first, they're going to try to force Democrats to accept large spending cuts, using their control over the debt limit as leverage. That means gridlock, and the threat that they'll come up short.
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US toughens sanctions over 'brutal' Belarus crackdown

The US has toughened its sanctions on Belarus's leadership, hours after the EU announced similar measures.

The EU reinstated a travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko and froze his assets, and the US imposed stricter financial controls and widened its travel bans on senior officials.

The foreign ministry threatened the EU with retaliation over the sanctions.

Mr Lukashenko was re-elected in a disputed vote in December, and launched a crackdown on dissent afterwards.

More than 600 people were detained, including seven of the election candidates, after protests against what international monitors said was a rigged vote.

On Monday, the EU confirmed it had reinstated a travel ban on Mr Lukashenko, and widened the ban to include 157 of his associates.

The EU had originally banned Belarusian leader in 2006 after the last presidential election, but suspended the ban two years later in an attempt to encourage reforms.


The BBC has the entire article.
Calvin & Hobbes: Trusting
  • calybe

The spotlight is on the media now

The Niira Radia episode raises questions about the boundary between legitimate news gathering, lobbying and influence peddling.

The publication of taped conversations between Niira Radia — a lobbyist for Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata with a keen interest in the allocation of ministerial portfolios — and editors, reporters, industrialists and politicians has shone a harsh and even unwelcome light on the web of connections which exist between the worlds of business, politics and journalism.

The transcripts — drawn from 104 phone conversations recorded between May and July 2009 when the Manmohan Singh government was in the process of beginning its second innings — also raise questions about the boundary between legitimate news gathering, lobbying and influence peddling. Even as the journalists involved have strongly defended their conduct, others in the media are divided with some believing the boundary was transgressed.

The transcripts were published last week by Open and Outlook magazines, which sourced them to audio recordings submitted recently to the Supreme Court by advocate Prashant Bhushan as part of a PIL on the 2G scam. The magazines claim the recordings were made by the Income Tax department as part of its ongoing surveillance of Ms Radia. The recordings are believed to be part of a wider set of phone taps, though who leaked this particular selection and why is not known.


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Source: The Hindu

Click here for the leaked tapes and more info

OP: I know it's a bit old, but I don't remember it being covered in here. I thought it was a pretty interesting reveal about the Indian Media, though there's nothing to be surprised about really.
Christian Bale

Attempted Plane Attack: Trial Date Set for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Passengers Have Theory on What Really Happened

DETROIT (WJBK) - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of trying to blow up an airplane over metro Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, appeared in federal court Tuesday. A trial date has now been set.

However, it was actually more interesting to hear from a couple of the passengers that showed up at court. They had an interesting theory about what really happened.

"The U.S. government escorted them through security without a passport and, we believe, gave him an intentionally defective bomb," said Kurt Haskell.

It's a startling allegation from two local attorneys that were on-board the 2009 Christmas Day flight to Detroit when Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up a bomb hidden in his underwear.

Kurt and Lori Haskell think the U.S. government was behind the whole thing.

"It was intentional that it went this far to further the war on terror, to get body scanners in the airports, to increase the TSA's budget, to renew the Patriot Act and whatever other reasons you want to list," Kurt Haskell told FOX 2.

The Haskells say in Amsterdam before boarding the flight to Detroit, they witnessed Abdulmutallab arguing with a ticket agent at the gate because he didn't have a passport when a man in a tan suit with an American accent intervened.

"The ticket agent did not want to allow Abdulmutallab on the flight and this man was very insistent of it, and then she referred them to a manager down the hallway," said Kurt Haskell.

They next saw Abdulmutallab on-board the plane when they saw fire and people screaming.

An FBI spokesperson told FOX 2 all passengers on-board the flight were interviewed and the information thoroughly vetted, but they can't comment any further.

Abdulmutallab has insisted on representing himself in the case. The trial date has now been set for October 4 and could include up to 400 witnesses.

"It's a very serious case," said Anthony Chambers, Abdulmutallab's stand-by attorney. "(There's) a lot of evidence that has to be reviewed and a lot of witnesses which must be interviewed in order to properly prepare the case."

Although the judge has urged Abdulmutallab to have Chambers represent him, so far he has refused.

"I think that this (is) a case that we can help him with greatly. It's a very defensible case," Chambers said.

[LB] Idea!

Huntsman to Step Down, Fueling Speculation About Presidential Bid

Jon Huntsman, the United States ambassador to China, has informed the White House that he plans to step down in the next few months, further stoking speculation about his presidential ambitions.

The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters that the president’s staff was aware of Mr. Huntsman’s imminent departure. But he dismissed reports that aides increasingly believe he will challenge the president.

“Ambassador Huntsman has told several people inside this building that he plans to leave during the first part of this year,” Mr. Gibbs said. “I have talked to several people inside this building and I have not heard anybody say they know what the future holds for Ambassador Huntsman.”

A former Republican governor of Utah, Mr. Huntsman was widely seen as a potential rival to Mr. Obama until the president chose to send him to China. Most political observers had expected that Mr. Huntsman might seek the presidency in 2016, after his boss would be off the scene.

But confidants of Mr. Huntsman’s back home have said he is considering whether to move more quickly by trying to capture the Republican nomination in 2012.

That would put the ambassador in an awkward position for the next several months. But Mr. Gibbs said the White House expected that Mr. Huntsman would focus his attention on China-related issues for as long as he remained in the job.

“We believed and continue to believe that he brings a broad range of experience to an extremely important ambassadorial post with one of our most important relationships in the world,” Mr. Gibbs said.

“The president and I think the American people expect that somebody that holds the post of ambassador from the United States to China will dedicate their full energy and time to that position,” Mr. Gibbs added. “And we believe that Ambassador Huntsman believes that as well.”

Mr. Huntsman has delivered a letter of resignation to President Obama and will leave his post effective April 30, a White House official said Monday evening.

Source (NYT)
Christian Bale

The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?

"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." - Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.

In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and "seed purity," gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the "conditional deregulation" of Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Beyond the regulatory euphemism of "conditional deregulation," this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.

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FASH. Space dress.

Illinois Gov. Quinn signs civil union bill into law

Gov. Quinn on Monday signed a bill legalizing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

“Here we are in 2011 on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday and I think this is very special,” Quinn said as 20 politicians joined him on stage and hundreds of supporters packed a hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. “We believe in civil rights and we believe in civil unions.”

With the move, Illinois joins five other states and the District of Columbia in establishing statewide laws to provide the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same sex couples.

The new law provides more than 650 spousal benefits and protections.

“If you enter a civil union, you can now visit your loved one in the hospital to make medical decisions and not be turned away. You can take time off to care for your partner and not lose your job,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “You can build and protect your family.

“This legislation represents a giant step toward equality.”

The law will take effect on June 1.

Supporters say civil unions are a matter of basic fairness for all Illinois residents. But opponents argue it threatens the sanctity of marriage and moves Illinois closer to legalizing same-sex marriages.

Illinois law will continue to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

once upon a time

Super Bowl a magnet for under-age sex trade

Pimps will traffic thousands of under-age prostitutes to Texas for Sunday's Super Bowl, hoping to do business with men arriving for the big game with money to burn, child rights advocates said.

As the country's largest sporting event, the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will make the Dallas-Fort Worth area a magnet for business of all kinds.

That includes the multimillion dollar, under-age sex industry, said activists and law enforcement officials working to combat what they say is an annual spike in trafficking of under-age girls ahead of the Super Bowl.

"The Super Bowl is one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told a trafficking prevention meeting in January.

Girls who enter the grim trade face a life of harsh treatment and danger, according to a Dallas police report in 2010. Few who emerge are willing to speak about it. Tina Frundt, 36, is an exception.

Now married and living in Washington D.C., Frundt was lured into sex work at 14 after she fell for a 24-year-old who invited her to leave home in 1989 and join his "family" in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Holy shit, I had no idea how big of a deal this was for the Superbowl! 


New Drugs Advisor's Sole Qualification Is Agreeing With The Government

Leff: Dr. Raabe, drugs "specialist" recently appointed to the ACMD.
Right: Evan Harris, Lib-Dem Politician, Secular Humanist
and generally awesome guy.

Evan Harris has a rather awesome article about the decision to appoint Dr. Raabe to the "Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs". This is the council from which Dr. Nutt was rejected because he noted that scientific research was at odds with government policy. At the point where Dr. Nutt was removed from his position, we still had a Labour government. Seemingly not to be out-played the Coalition government (Tory majority) have chosen a candidate with little in the way of expertise on this topic, but with plenty of juicy homophobic Christian fundamentalism. It seems likely that the main reason he has been chosen is because he thinks marijuana is just bad bad bad and why factor something as trivial as objectivity when appointing "specialists" for an advisory board, eh?

Evan Harris' article is as follows:

What is happening to our expert advisory committees?

There is a real risk that expertise will be replaced by advocates, and peer review by opinion, says Dr Evan Harris

Last week the Home Office appointed a Manchester GP, Dr Hans-Christian Raabe to serve on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.


Until last month Dr Margaret Birtwistle was the GP member of the ACMD. Dr Birtwistle is a GP Consultant to Surrey Drug Action Team as well as senior tutor at St George's Hospital, a forensic medicine examiner and a trainer. And until relatively recently, Dr Clare Gerada was also on the ACMD. She was primary care lead for drug misuse policy for, and is now president of, the Royal College of GPs

Dr Raabe now appears to be the only GP on the ACMD.

So, who is this new GP appointee to the ACMD?

Dr Raabe's two-doctor Manchester surgery does not advertise any specialist drug clinics on its website. Other than a single article in German in 1994 on "Dietary intervention in hyperlipidemia. Experience in general practice" he does not appear to have published any peer reviewed research, let alone into drug addiction or treatment.

Given that the expert membership of the ACMD is known by the Home Office to be a sensitive issue as I have written before, it might appear that the Home Office was simply not able to recruit attract any specialist GPs and thus appointed an ordinary inner city GP.

But Dr Raabe is not just a GP. He is a leading member of the Maranatha Community – a Manchester-based fundamentalist (in the literal, non-pejorative sense) evangelical Christian group.

He heads up, with Dr Linda Stalley, the Council for Health and Wholeness (CHW), a "medical" sub-group of the Maranatha Community. Both the Maranatha Community and the CHW have strong views on drugs and homosexuality and regularly send briefing materials to MPs and policy-makers.


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The credibility of the ACMD

Professor David Nutt, the former Chair of the ACMD who was harassed by Jackie Smith and sacked by Alan Johnson for expressing his views on the evidence around drug classification, and who now heads the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, has again stressed his concerns about the future of the ACMD. He has commented that "The appointment of Dr Raabe confirms in my mind that the ACMD cannot be considered to be a body that has science at the heart of its decision-making."

Perhaps elements within the Government are trying to destroy the ACMD from within?

Andy Lewis of the Quackometer blog identifies a number of Government expert committees being populated by non-experts. I agree with him when he says

"When David Nutt was sacked for expressing views on relative harm, we were angry that government was ignoring the advice of its advisors. Now we find ourselves hoping they do.