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Archive for December 26th, 2012

The FreedomWorks Implosion: Big Money Beats Handguns

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2012

I’m cueing up the Warren Zevon for this story on FreedomWorks:

[On the day after Labor Day, 2012] Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group.

Dick Armey is a legend in conservative circles. He was one of the leaders of the 1994 GOP effort that saw them taking both houses of Congress. Yet he’s now done, probably for good.

If you wanted any further confirmation that the Tea Party movement is not now a ‘grass roots’ phenomenon but total rich man’s Astroturf, here it is.


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Oregano As A Replacement For Antibiotics? Livestock Farmers Are Trying It

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2012

This sounds interesting:

The smell of oregano wafting from Scott Sechler’s office is so strong that anyone visiting Bell & Evans these days could be forgiven for wondering whether Mr. Sechler has forsaken the production of chicken and gone into pizza.


Off and on over the last three years or so, his chickens have been eating a specially milled diet laced with oregano oil and a touch of cinnamon. Mr. Sechler swears by the concoction as a way to fight off bacterial diseases that plague meat and poultry producers without resorting to antibiotics, which some experts say can be detrimental to the humans who eat the meat. Products at Bell & Evans, based in this town about 30 miles east of Harrisburg, have long been free of antibiotics, contributing to the company’s financial success as consumers have demanded purer foods.

But Mr. Sechler said that nothing he had used as a substitute in the past worked as well as oregano oil.

There are skeptics, a notable one being Scott Gavura. But a few studies exist (such as this one and this one) that indicate that oregano may well have actual medicinal uses.

UPDATE: Gavura’s post was from May of 2011, and the materials he cites are of course from before 2011, the latest one being a 2010 review of studies from past years. This October 2011 study indicates that 3% oregano oil helps to fight against Staphlococcus aureus infections. To my mind this would fit in with the results of a 2001 study that seems to indicate that oregano oil as extracted from the plant works better at fighting bacteria than does carvacrol alone, which is thought to be the chief antibacterial agent in oregano oil. The other chemicals in oregano oil apparently possess antibacterial properties that work with carvacrol’s to reduce bacteria in the test subjects.

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