American Elephants

Government Knows Best! (Except When it Kills You) by American Elephant

The Federal Government has been telling us for years to avoid the sun, wear sunscreen, don’t tan. Democrat busy-body, control-freaks, always looking for new ways to save people from themselves, control their choices, and steal their money in the process, have recently passed increased taxation and regulation on the use of tanning beds.

But now comes new research by Professor Hakan Olsson, a leading cancer specialist at the oncology unit at Lund University in Sweden, who believes the risk of skin cancer is “far outweighed” by the benefits of sunlight to womens’  health:

He said there was overwhelming evidence that exposure to the sun helps protect against blood clots in the leg, which claim the lives of 25,000 Britons a year.

These clots, known as deep vein thromboses, have been shown to be far more prevalent in winter than summer.

Professor Olsson, who was presenting his research at the Swedish Society of Medicine, cited other studies showing that more patients are diagnosed with diabetes in the colder months, a phenomenon attributed to a lack of vitamin D.

For his study, he examined tanning habits and the incidence of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes or malignant melanoma.

‘Our studies show that women with active sunbathing habits live longer,’ he said. [read more]

Which, if Professor Olsson’s research proves true, means busy-body, command-and-control “progressives” have driven countless women (and possibly men, the research was done only on women) to an early grave by scaring, regulating, and taxing them out of the sun. As they have caused countless deaths by forcing automakers to make lighter, less safe cars, killed countless millions around the world by blocking the use of DDT to kill malaria carrying mosquitoes, and caused countless more deaths by starvation by driving up the costs of food by getting farmers to grow crops for gas tanks instead of kitchen tables.

Yet more evidence that “consensus” in science is utter horsepucky. And yet another excellent reason that health decisions should be made between doctors and their patients, not by command and control government.

Exit question: You think Democrats will repeal their tanning regulations and “sin” taxes now that they have virtually destroyed that industry for no justifiable reason?

18 Comments so far
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Democrat busy-body, control-freaks, always looking for new ways to save people from themselves, control their choices, and steal their money in the process, have recently passed increased taxation and regulation on the use of tanning beds.

I guess “moderation” isn’t in your vocabulary. While I don’t agree with levying extra taxes on sun beds, I certainly agree with laws that ensure that they are manufactured safely and that salons are operating them correctly.

No dermatologist I know advocates extended sun bathing for people with fair skin. The link between over-exposure to UV rays and skin cancer is about as well-documented as anything in medicine. However, many would be OK with careful and gradual exposure.

How about putting this story in context? We are not talking here about Arizona but Sweden, for cripes sake, where the sun hardly shines, or it shines wanly, during six months of the year.

Vitamin-D deficiency is perhaps one of the biggest, yet most under-appreciated, chronic health problems plaguing middle-aged and elderly Europeans and North Americans. (I, myself, was diagnosed as Vitamin-D deficient a couple of years ago, and now take supplements.) So I can fully imagine that many people have gone too far to avoid sun exposure.

But is this the fault of the nanny state, or the an inevitable result of the faddish way that health issues are discussed and communicated in society?

Consider butter. Decades ago, it was common wisdom that butter was bad for us, and we were advised to use margarine instead. Then it gradually emerged that the trans fats used to make margarine were worse for us than butter. So now butter is making a slow comeback. (Both Julia Child and her husband, both big consumers of butter, lived into their ’90s.)

As for doctors, I have found most to be knowledgeable about common ailments, or about the maladies in their area of specialty, but also fallible.

Several years ago I came down with something that seemed like a bad cold. Not one doctor diagnosed it correctly. It was only when my wife called me to tell me that several of her colleagues had come down with whooping cough that I went back to one of the doctors (who dismissed my theory as ridiculous) and demanded a blood test, to which he reluctantly consented. Bingo, it was whooping cough.

The point is, medicine in modern society is no longer holistic, and nobody has “the” answer. But there are some truths that I think it does not hurt for people like the Surgeon General to communicate. One is that smoking increases one’s risk of cancer. Another is that over-exposure to the sun (or artificial sources of UV radiation) increases the risk of skin cancer, especially among people with fair skin. That message should, however, be combined with one that reminds people of the importance of ensuring they are getting enough vitamin “D”.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Which, if Professor Olsson’s research proves true, means busy-body, command-and-control “progressives” have … caused countless more deaths by starvation by driving up the costs of food by getting farmers to grow crops for gas tanks instead of kitchen tables.

There you go again. I have corrected you time and time again. Biofuels policy has been driven largely by the farm lobby and people trying to cozy up to it; by big car companies like GM (“Thing green, go yellow”); and by national-security hawks who believe that producing biofuels will somehow obviate the need to import petroleum from the Middle East. Among the biggest boosters of biofuels, need I remind you, was President George W. Bush. Does he count in your book as a “progressive”?

Yes, some mainstream environmental groups had a fling with biofuels, but by the end of 2006 their enthusiasm started to wane, and as grain prices rose and the negative effects on the environment started to become apparent, they reversed their support and have now been in the lead (more so than conflicted Republican Senators) in trying to eliminate government support for crop-based biofuels.

But I guess the reality of that story doesn’t fit nice and neatly with your black-and-white narrative. It seems that, in your mind, biofuel mandates and subsidies are crazy, hence they MUST be the fault of “progressives”.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

By the way, here is the line-up of Senators for and against extending the wasteful and redundant volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC).

Those who have written a letter to Senatorial colleagues encouraging them to let the tax credit and import tariff on ethanol expire:

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Jim Webb (D-VA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Bob Bennett (R-UT)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
John McCain (R-AZ)

Those who signed on to a letter urging extension of the VEETC and the tariff:

Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Jim Johnson (D-SD)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Kit Bond (R-MO)
Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
John Thune (R-SD)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Notice a REGIONAL divide here? Need I spell it out with 3-D, interactive graphics?

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Cars have been getting heavier and safer for
quite some time.
S.U.V’s and trucks are not safer than cars.
Highway deaths have been trending down not up.

As for the tanning bed thing I hope
John “orange” Boehner Raises cane on
this one Remember when the government shut
down the fish pedicures next thing they will
be trying to tax my free speech.
Oh yeah we did not starve anyone making ethanol.

Comment by Ron spins

No, you could just use a little ear of corn symbol.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Why was the fish pedicure shut down, Ron? For hygienic reasons? Because the fish were considered an invasive species? Because some husband complained that his wife’s feet smelled of fish?

Comment by Subsidy Eye

There are a lot of “environmentalists” working both side of policies. There are those who want fossil fuels eliminated, period. There are those who have looked into the evidence on biofuels and reject them. Obama has gone with the “clean energy” fantasy and is subsidizing all sorts of solar plants in California deserts, while at the same time other environmentalists are fighting in court to protect tortoises or other wildlife.

Governments seem to follow other governments — Portland has light rail, therefore to be a world class city, Seattle must have light rail, and nobody consults the experts or the studies. Yes, farmers in the Midwest corn states like getting more money for their corn, ethanol producers want to sell more ethanol, some environmentalists are more concerned with getting rid of fossil fuels while others are opposed to biofuels. The WHO says that ethanol is raising the worldwide price of food and that it is harming the poorest nations. The Center for Global Food Issues says the same thing.

It isn’t a black and white narrative. Obama is hell-bent on his “green alternative energy” scenario, and is uninterested in evidence — I believe he is hugely, enormously, wrong; wasting money that we can’t afford; destroying the energy sources that the country must have; raising the cost of energy; and destroying jobs right and left. I don’t know exactly what his motives are — more control, more power — a firm (but in error) belief in global warming? The people he has selected to help him in those efforts are ideologues and in some cases, crooks, who could never be confirmed by Congress. I am beyond worried.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

I guess “moderation” isn’t in your vocabulary.

Actually, I thought that was quite moderate considering all the power Democrats have seized over everything from our healthcare to our light bulbs to the auto industry, the banking industry, the student loan industry, with their sights on the internet, our cars, the energy industry and so much more.

Were I to be less moderate, but more accurate, I would just call them fascists. Which, according to the dictionary itself, is precisely what they are.

Hell, Democrats have seized far more power in the past two years than has Hugo Chavez himself.

Very moderate indeed. 🙂

But is this the fault of the nanny state, or the an inevitable result of the faddish way that health issues are discussed and communicated in society?

Considering all the warnings come from the Nanny State (Surgeon General, CDC, etc), and all the regulation and legislation come from the Nanny State, yes, the blame, I think, does rest with the government. You see, Subsidy, government is the only entity that has the power to force us to do or not to do things. And the government, by increasing taxation has forced many people to stop tanning out of sheer economics, forced many tanning businesses out of business entirely, while wealthier people have not been entirely forced to stop tanning, but certainly the government has, by the force of law, made it more costly, and therefore more difficult to do so.

It’s not the same as outlawing it outright — after all, Democrats are loath to outlaw anything they can tax, but the principle is the same.

Comment by American Elephant


You are comparing apples to oranges, and that doesn’t work. I’m not talking about tall SUV’s vs. shorter, lower center of gravity cars. I’m talking about car companies having to make cars smaller and lighter in order to meet CAFE standards, which all the studies have shown have increased traffic fatalities dramatically.

I had forgotten about the fish! Which really is a shame, because my dry, nasty feet could use a good fish-nibbling. 🙂

Comment by American Elephant

Ron AND Subsidy,

There you go again. I have corrected you time and time again.

Oh yeah we did not starve anyone making ethanol.

First, I should point out that I wrote this post, not the Elephant’s Child, so technically, you’ve not corrected me on this at all.

Secondly, a study by the World Bank says otherwise:

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% – far more than previously estimated – according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

I know it’s not very easy to tell who the author of a piece is around here. This blog template doesn’t show who the author of a post is. I’m trying to decide the best way to remedy that. Maybe we’ll just have to sign our posts. Up to now, we’ve been putting our names in the Tags at the top, but that isn’t a very satisfactory solution. I don’t think most people see it.

Comment by American Elephant

Well, thanks for the clarification about the multiple authorship, American.

As for correcting you, you have responded to posts on which I have discussed biofuels policy, so it is disingenuous to plead ignorance.

And if you are going to cite the World Bank study (which I much admire), then please stop calling it unpublished. It was published:

Comment by Subsidy Eye

The fish pedicures were banned because the tools
have to be sterilized between customers , in this
case the “tools” were fish.
The fear was using the same fish between
multiple customers would transmit infection.
————————————————-Using your World bank link
The cause for the rising food prices was
climatic shocks , conflict , macro-policy
factors , low past investment in extractive
commodities , the weak dollar , fiscal expansion
lax monetary policy in many countries , the
diversion of some food commodities to the
production of bio fuels , and government policy
(including export bans and prohibitive taxes)
not really ethanol production in the U.S
especially since the highest price increase was
with wheat and rice.
I searched the web site for bio fuels

Comment by Ron spins

Subsidy, I didn’t call it unpublished, that was a quote from The Guardian. They called it unpublished, because at the time that post was written, and at the time they wrote their article it was unpublished.

Comment by American Elephant

OK, technically you did not call it unpublished. But you linked to a story referring to it as unpublished, which diminishes its importance.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

American Elephant
Here is the author for the 75% price increase
in food claim because of our ethanol production.

The U.K Guardian and BBC are left wing sources
The 75% claim is quite doubtful.

Comment by Ron spins


That’s not the author of the study, that’s the author of the article about the study. The study was completed by the World Bank, and has been widely reported including by FOX News, the WSJ, among many others.

Comment by American Elephant

You are correct, AE. The author of the study was Dr. Donald Mitchell, a senior and highly respected agricultural economist in the Development Prospects Group at the World Bank. I have met Mitchell, and he is an objective analyst with no political ax to grind.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Aditya is the author of the 75% claim.
The 75% claim is hyperbole.
The links were in here

Above I said he was the author of the 75%
price increase in food claim , because of
our ethanol production.

I did not say he was the author of the
study by the World bank which I supplied
here below the
hand full of corn.

A link to the W.S.J or even Fox news
would be a lot more credible
than the UK Guardian for PROOF of a 75%
price increase in FOOD , because of the
production of bio fuels.

The crux of my point is the claim is bunk.

And I supplied the REAL World bank documents
in that link…………………………

Comment by Ron spins

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