Hazy logic: Readers question the thinking behind smoking bans and smallpox vaccine

 DAILY RFT, FEBRUARY 4, 2010
DRUNKEN ST. LOUIS
Staggering the number of bad drunks here: Those five criteria don't include per capita alcohol consumption or any other measure of how often or how thoroughly people in any city get drunk ["St. Louis: Sixth Drunkest City," Chad Garrison]. What they do measure, though, is how badly people handle themselves when they're drunk — and you know what? Having seen how St. Louisans behave when they get drunk, I can easily believe there are only five places in the U.S. that are worse.

News flash: The object of drinking is not to puke and pass out as fast as humanly possible.
J. Brad Hicks, via the Internet

DAILY RFT, FEBRUARY 4, 2010
BLAST OFF!
Fond farewell to our traveling man: Anyone who is familiar with the situation could see this coming from miles away ["And, the Staycation's Over for Tom Uhlenbrock, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Long-time Travel Writer," Kristen Hinman]. The Post-Dispatch is cutting money wherever they can, and paying for a good travel writer themselves — when they can run cheap crap from the Associated Press — made Tom an obvious target. They reassigned him to the higher-education beat because they knew he would quit, saving Lee Enterprises the expense of firing him.

Tom, of course, will land on his feet with another employer or just go freelance. I wish him the best of luck. My wife and I have enjoyed his writing for many years.
Fred, via the Internet

DAILY RFT, FEBRUARY 2, 2010
SMALLPOX PRIMER
Listen up: It's highly, highly unlikely they are injecting people with even a small amount of smallpox ["Need a Job? Want to Fight Terrorism? Let Saint Louis University Give You Smallpox!" Keegan Hamilton]. The risk of an outbreak or deadly complications is just too high. The standard smallpox vaccine contains zero smallpox virus particles, active or inactive. It's made from a very closely related (and much less severe) virus: cowpox. Almost certainly, researchers at Saint Louis University are testing a modified form of this.
SButler, via the Internet

Smallpox primer No. 2: Until the early 1970s, about 90 percent of all pharmaceutical products were tested on prison inmates. This stopped soon after Tuskegee and Holmesburg received extensive media attention. Prisoners are considered a vulnerable population, more at risk of undue coercion (financial incentives, etc.); also, they may not be able to give informed consent. Many of them are under the impression that if they participate in the studies, this will reflect well on their record and lead to an early release for good behavior. This is not the case.
Clinical Research Ethics Specialist, via the Internet

DAILY RFT, FEBRUARY 2, 2010
WHITEOUT
Don't mess with Herzog: The White Rat will not be fucked with at his abode ["Whitey Herzog Doesn't Want to Talk About the Past, Closes Door on New York Times Reporter," Chad Garrison]. Know that.
Dr. Discretion, via the Internet

FEATURE, JANUARY 28, 2010
NOTE TO SMOKERS: SHUT UP
Get over it: Ah, shut up already ["Smokeasies," Keegan Hamilton]. When will this city just wake up and realize a smoking ban is good for you? Did it stop people from going out in Chicago? San Francisco? No, so the sky isn't falling, people; it's just saving us all from smelling your crappy habit on our clothes for the next several days.
Johan, St. Louis, via the Internet

Lack of skepticism is troubling: I found your article interesting, but a little distressing also. I'm not here to scream about the weird regulations, because I don't really have a dog in this fight. I don't smoke, I don't live in St. Louis or St. Louis County, and I don't own a bar, restaurant or tavern. I found the distressing part of the article to be the free pass given to the politicians. They cite nonsense statistics, and you print them. I thought I was reading the Post-Dispatch! "This is the most significant health regulation in the history of the city." Really?!! That's a little over the top, especially since these stats have been repeatedly proven to be false. I'm all for public safety, but please don't rely on bullshit — from MADD, PETA, DARE and politicians — for the facts. They're playing fast and loose with the truth. I ask you to approach these do-gooders with a little more skepticism.
Marty Woods, via the Internet

 
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