Friday, June 29, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: China "guarantees" quality of exported poisons.

Do NOT put anything "Made in China" in any bodily orifice.

That would include ear, eye, nose and throat as well as any of the unmentionable orifices. I would also caution against applying anything "Made in China (Hecho in China) to the skin, scalp or nails or your vehicle's rims as well as avoiding feeding any of it to your pets.

In the face of rising world suspicion of the poisonous substances that Chinese manufacturers are packing into various foods, medicines and cosmetics being exported, Chinese spokesman for the Commerce Ministry, Wang Xinpei (pronounced: Wang Xinpei), declared,
It can be said that the quality of China's exports all are guaranteed.

Guaranteed to what?
China shuts 180 food plants for tainted ingredients

Deaths of thousands of dogs and cats in North America blamed on Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine.

Lassie after 30 day diet of melamine and anti-freeze

U.S. authorities have turned away or recalled toxic fish, juice containing unsafe color additives and popular toy trains decorated with lead paint.

Chinese-made toothpaste also has been banned by numerous countries in North and South America and Asia for containing diethylene glycol (anti-freeze), the same chemical that killed people in Panama last year when it turned up in cough syrup.
900,000 tubes have turned up in the USA in places including correctional facilities and some hospitals, not just at discount stores.

You'll wonder where the yellow went when
you brush your teeth with Peking-o-Dent.

Beijing police raided a village where plastic pipes had been forced down pigs' throats and villagers had pumped each 220-pound pig with 44 pounds of wastewater (raw sewage).
Stamps on their ears indicated that they already had been through quarantine and inspection.

Dinnertime already? No thanks. I'll pass.

China's former top drug regulator has been sentenced to death.

Refused by the FDA in April because they were "filthy":
salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili and sesame oil
dried apple
dried peach
dried pear
dried round bean curd
dried mushroom
frozen bay scallops
frozen Pacific cod
frozen seafood mix
fermented bean curd


foods rejected because they were contaminated with pesticides:
frozen eel
frozen red raspberry crumble

Frozen catfish was stopped because it was laced with banned antibiotics.

Scallops and sardines were turned away because they were coated with putrefying bacteria.

China has also attempted to export hundreds of thousands of pounds of chickens and poultry products to the U.S., even though it is not yet certified to do so. Chinese exporters disguise the meat by labeling crates "dried lily flower" or "prune slices" or "vegetables."

China, the leading exporter of seafood to the U.S., is raising most of its fish products in water contaminated with raw sewage and compensating by using dangerous drugs and chemicals, many of which are banned by the Food and Drug Administration.

Deadly fake medicines, including tablets made with yellow road paint and unhygienic pregnancy testing kits.

Heart pills coated with furniture polish.

Cigarettes containing sand and cadmium, and with 75 per cent more tar and a quarter more nicotine than rules permit.

Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical.

Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption.

Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer.

Swordfish rejected as "poisonous."

Portable baby swings that entrap youngsters, resulting in 60 reports of cuts, bruises and abrasions;

Swimming pool ladders that break, resulting in 127 reports of injuries, including leg lacerations requiring up to 21 stitches, five reports of bone fractures, two back injuries, two reports of torn ligaments and eight sprained ankles;

Faulty baby carriers that result in babies falling out and getting bruised, getting skulls cracked and hospitalizations;

Easy-Bake Ovens that trap children's fingers in openings, resulting in burns;

Oscillating tower fans whose faulty wiring results in fires, burns and smoke inhalation injuries;

Exploding air pumps that have resulted in 13 lacerations including six facial injuries and one to the eye;

Bargain-priced oil-filled electric heaters, selling for less than $50, that burn down homes;

Notebook computer batteries that burn up computers, cause other property damage and burn users;

Circular saws with faulty blade guards that result in cutting users, not wood.

1,500 table lamps recalled because of faulty light sockets that posed the risk of electrical shocks and fire hazards.

1500 emergency lights that look just like other emergency lights but whose circuit board malfunctions, preventing illumination during emergencies.

1700 heated massaging recliners recalled due to overheating and burn hazards.

2,700 $12 pine cone candles had to be recalled when it was determined the exterior coating, not just the wick, caught fire.

180,000 pieces of glassware were ordered recalled because the items broke for no apparent reason, sometimes cutting the hands of those holding them.

Kitchen stools collapsed even under the weight of small children.

40,000 cribs had to be recalled when it was discovered directions instructed consumers to assemble them in ways that would result in the baby falling out and becoming entrapped. Additionally, locking pins on the side of the crib could pop off and cause a choking hazard.

450,000 infant car seat carriers manufactured in China had to be recalled when it was determined infants were falling out because of a faulty design. The Evenflo Co., which imported the carriers from China, received 679 reports of the handle on the car seat releasing for no reason, resulting in 160 injuries to children, including a skull fracture, two concussions and cuts and bruises.

Books for young children have been found to contain plastic squeaker toys that have become lodged in babies' throats and metal clips that break off, potentially injuring kids.

137 reports of infants mouthing, chewing and sometimes choking on tiny pieces of its soft blocks tower toys imported from China. At least 32 infants were found gagging on the pieces and 49 choked on the plastic covering. In all, 40,000 had to be recalled.

Monkfish that turned out to be toxic pufferfish.

Samplings of Chinese imported fish between October and May repeatedly found traces of the antibiotics nitrofuran and fluoroquinolone, as well as the antifungals malachite green and gentian violet. Of particular concern are the fluoroquinolones, a family of widely used human antibiotics that the FDA forbids in seafood in part to prevent bacteria from developing resistance to these important drugs.

Tilapia fillets tainted by salmonella.

An unidentified fish mislabeled as catfish. (unidentified? Jeebus!)

1.2 million Lasko Products Inc. ceramic heaters that pose a fire hazard.

2,300 Schylling Associates Inc. toy barbecues, because of the danger of laceration from sharp edges.

450,000 light-truck radial tires manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. in Hangzhou, China, and sold under the names Westlake, Compass, Telluride and YKS, because the treads might separate due to missing gum strips -- two known dead so far.

China made all of the 24 types of toys recalled this year for safety problems. All of them. 100%.

Toxic waste from China and other countries is being imported and used as a raw ingredient by some Australian fertiliser manufacturers and distributors. The wastes - from steelworks, electric-arc furnaces and zinc smelters - are being made into products that have shown heavy-metal levels up to 110,000 times higher than those which prompt NSW consumer warnings. "The trouble is that the Chinese are giving testing certificates on the products. But they are just lies, that's the nicest thing I can say. If we made that material we would be able to survive too, but we would poison everybody. It is madness. They are turning farms into waste dumps. And for some of this stuff, if you contaminate your ground with it, you might render it impossible to ever farm clean vegetables again."
Well, if these are examples of popular Chinese dogs, (Chinese crested hairless), the Chinese probably don't see anything wrong with eating pork force fed with raw sewage or brushing their teeth with Prestone-laced Peking-o-Dent.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Washington, D.C.: "Fairness Doctrine" sinks faster than the Titanic

Man! That was fast.

There has been a lot of chatter on the net for the past couple of weeks about Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein et al mumbling about bringing back the "Fairness Doctrine" in a blatant attempt to silence conservative talk radio. Specifically, they want to muzzle Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, the three biggest players in the game.

The attempt by Air America to take on the conservative talkers with a liberal talk radio network ended, ignominiously, as we all know, in bankruptcy court, accompanied by various and sundry financial scandals. So, the big government, nanny-staters represented by San Fransisco's Pelosi and Feinstein have begun to bitch and whine about legislating the highly popular conservative radio hosts out of business.

Not so fast, said Rep. Mike Pence (R - Ind.) as he co-sponsored a bill today in the House, along with Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), which forbids the FCC from using public money to re-invoke the thoroughly discredited "Fairness Doctrine". The vote on the measure was a razor thin 309-115. That would be roughly the same margin of victory as the combined Sitting Bull/Crazy Horse and Red Cloud vs Custer and Fetterman ("I'll ride through the entire Sioux nation.") contests.

The event was not without humor, however. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said, hilariously,
We ought to let right-wing talk radio go on as they do now,” he said. “Rush and Sean are just about as important in the scheme of things as Paris Hilton, and I would hate to see them gain an ounce of credibility by being forced by a government agency or anybody else to moderate their views enough that they might become modestly influential or respected.
Rush Limbaugh has, weekly, as in every single week of the year, 22-24 million listeners. That's more people listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio show in one week than have listened to Rep. Obey in his entire life or might possibly hear a word or two from Obey if he were to live (and talk) for another thousand years. Hannity has a weekly audience of about 14 million and Savage is enjoyed by about 8 million people each week.

That's just shy of 50 million people per week who listen to the top three talk radio hosts in all the United States of America. Throw in Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and many, many others and the numbers give the liberals chronic, incurable and, hopefully, terminal heartburn. The fact that these guys are all conservatives is not the point at all, at least to other conservatives as well as free speech advocates as well as Democratic legislators who would like to see (or hear) them stifled but are scared sh*tless (shitless) to publicly vote that way.

This reminds me of a line from that great character actor Chill Wills in a movie whose title I have long ago forgotten. He was engaged in a poker game when the card count seemed a little, er, off:
I don't want to get all picky over the rules or anything, but six aces? Sheeesh! That's a lotta aces.

Chill Wills
50 million listeners a week?
Sheesh! That's a lotta voters.

The spineless, quivering Democrats in the House would have given their eyeteeth to see (or hear) conservative talk radio silenced forever, but, 50 million listeners a week? Sheesh! That's a lotta voters.

Fairness Doctrine Disclosure: I ran into Chill Wills about 30 years ago in the Atlanta Hartsfield airport at a cigarette machine. He had deposited his money and couldn't get a pack of fags out of it. Between the two of us, we began rocking the machine back and forth on its legs until the pack of coffin nails finally fell out. He smoked Winstons, as I recall, and died of cancer (type unspecified) at the age of 75 years in 1978.

Lots more comment:
The Captain live-blogged the sinking.
Boss Hog Cernig, via someone calling themselves Shamanic, whines in a backhanded sort of way. Typical of gutless lefties.
Betsy is far from gutless.
Radio Equalizer says, "It's a blowout.", all things being Equal, of course.
Robbie at Urban Grounds says that Senator Kerry's dream just went down the YouTube.
Michelle Malkin pooh-poohs Obey's and Kucinich's pooh-poohing.
Dan Reihl votes -- SHOCK!! - -American
Jammie Wearing Fool: Be vigilant, forever.
SeeDubya cuts through the bu**shit (bullshit)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: Best telemarketer prank, ever.

I realize that telemarketers are not a big annoyance in Mexico. For one thing, the ones that do exist haven't learned how to get a hook into a victim. The phone call is usually acompanied by some type of canned music which you hear as soon as you answer the phone. This affords you the opportunity to slam the handset back onto the receiver before the telemarketer can get on the line. Another habit of telemarketers here is to have a recorded voice tell you, "Un momento, por favor," which also gives you the crucial .005 milli-second necessary to hammer said reciver with said handset. In fact, I have never yet actually found myself talking to a telemarketer in Mexico.

It's different in the USA, however. Telemarketers there have evolved over time and have this telemarketing annoyance down to an infuriatingly fine science.

This is how one very clever fellow handles them. Listen and enjoy.

via FARK.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Berlin, Germany: Now this is hard ball politics!

So ya wanna play hardball? The Poles know how to play hardball. The conservative Polish news magazine Wprost took a vicious shot at Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling her the "Stepmother of Europe" and publishing a doctored photo that depicts her suckling Poland's twin leaders, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and President Lech Kaczynski. As you can see from the photo, little is left to one's imagination.

Politics, Polish style.

I'm trying to imagine one or more US news magazines engaging in the same type of bare knuckled political commentary. Hillary Clinton . . . never mind. It's simply too awful to contemplate.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: State Sec'y of Tourism says, "Guelaguetza is ready!"

Beatriz Rodríguez
Ready for what?

Oaxaca State Secretary of Tourism Beatriz Rodríguez says that "Everything is ready for the festivities to take place." Uh-huh.

In a press conference in Mexico City, Ms. Rodríguez admitted that the success of the festival depended on the ongoing negotiations between the state officials and Sección 22 representatives (the teachers that seldom attend classes, preferring instead to march in the streets and camp out in the zócalo) who are demanding the return to their control more than 100 schools where the kids' parents have thrown them out as well as with APPO representatives who are demanding that all their thugs and criminals be released from jail. The Secretary also said that she was much more concerned with word-of-mouth recommendations from tourists than she was with official US State Department travel warnings (which advise avoiding the state like the plague until at least next October 19).

Secretary Rodríguez also took a shot at the federal government for some 50 million pesos which was supposedly promised to the state for "promotions" and was not forthcoming. She said that the state had poured some 60 million pesos into the effort but the federal government must now fulfill its promises. The fact that the state of Oaxaca is a black hole of anti-matter into which untold billions of pesos have disappeared without a trace over the decades of PRI rule was not mentioned. At least not by the Secretary.

What you have to do here is read between the lines just a bit as I have done parenthetically. Secretary Rodríguez said,
These negotiations are important. I understand that they are making adcances and are going well. In the case of the teachers (Sección 22) they have already agreed to rezonification (massive pay raises totaling billions of pesos) which was an demand since a year ago. (This was agreed to by the federal government last October, so this issue has been moot for, uh, almost 8 months.)

Today in Oaxaca there is a symbolic encampment (in the zócalo) and pressure like that of last year does not exist. But everything is ready for the Guelaguetza festival start (as is APPO which will try to force its cancelation as they did last year). There is total security (except for the downtown where there is not a policeman in sight within 4 blocks all around the zócalo. I found 6 Preventive Police officers hiding in the Juarez market 2 blocks south of the zócalo yesterday. This is, however, an improvement over last year when there were no cops anywhere within 10 blocks of the zócalo). Hotel occupancy is growing. I don't want to say that Oaxaca is better than ever, but it is improving gradually.
Then she made this astonishing statement:
The word-of-mouth warnings by people who came here and experienced the conflict (last year) hit us harder than any official warning by the United States because 80 percent of the visitors come here without first consulting the internet (in other words, through rank ignorance of what's going on here). In any case, word-of-mouth and news reports forced our hotel occupancy rates down to 18% last December instead of the historical average of 80% (and if people had been following the ongoing disaster on the internet, occupancy would have been about 0%). Today we are at about 30-35% since February and a complete recovery is predicted to take two more years (depending, of course, on Sección 22, APPO and a river of federal funds being swallowed up by Oaxacan anti-matter).
Here is a description of the "symbolic encampment" downtown as of yesterday at high noon:
APPO and Sección 22 have control of the south side of the zócalo.
They are sleeping under the portico of the former government palace, now a museum which is, of course, closed to the public.
They had 2 cars with loudspeakers atop pulled up to the band shell in the zócalo itself where no vehicles are allowed, supposedly.
They have control of the north side of the zócalo as well, with tarps attached to the east side of the hotel, blocking the hotel entrance as well as the travel agency there.
They have taken over the entirety of the Alemeda which is the plaza in front of the cathedral.
Illegal street merchants have moved back into the zócalo and the Alemeda, with illegal pirated DVD's being the most popular items on display.
Along the row of restaurants on the west side, beginning at the northwest corner of the zócalo nearest the Alemeda, there were 2 tables of about 50 occupied -- 4%.
At both the soutwest and southeast corner restaurants, about 1 in three tables had customers -- 33%.
There was not another single table occupied in the several restaurants along the east side of the zócalo to the Italian Coffee on the northeast corner, where 2 gringo capitalist pigs occupied one table -- 2%.
The big hotel restaurant along the north side had 4 people sitting at one table -- 2%.

Quite symbolic if you ask me -- and even if you don't.

What Secretary Rodríguez is really saying is that her office has made its Guelaguetza preparations and if the festival fails and buses are burned and tourists chased off and unarmed traffic cops tarrred and feathered and banks robbed and business people assaulted and blood runs in the streets, as is all likely, it ain't her fault.

Which is quite true, by the way.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: I've found the pants!

Mark in Mexico proudly announces that he has found Judge Roy Pearson's missing $67,000,000.00 $54,000,000.00 pants.

Judge Roy Pearson's missing pants

Why didn't he just check with me first?

And what is there to understand about,
"No tickee, no washee."
Francis "Frank" Costello, The Departed, 2006
I will happily return them to him for a mere $10.50, the original cost of the alteration he ordered back in the spring of 2005 (he needed the waist let out as he had developed quite a fat ass during several years of collecting unemployment compensation checks). Plus, of course, my expenses will have to be reimbursed.

To wit:
1. 2 hours of pondering over and then writing this post @ $500/hr. = $1000.00
2. 6 hrs. research following the course of this quest for tort justice over the past couple of months @ $500/hr = $3000.00
3. 8 hrs. of my life lost which I intended to devote to enriching myself on a scale equal to or surpassing that of one William Gates, reportedly now worth 50 billion dollars = $50,000,000,000.00

Total = $50,000,004,000.00

Plus freight, PPD from Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico, of course.

Professor Bainbridge says I should sue because there's not really a tiger in my tank. Just how the hell does he know that?
Amygdala's mystery, awe and anguish is settled.
Blue Crab Boulevard has mistaken these for clown pants.
Kevin Drum fails to see the parallels to John Edwards.
OnDeadline shows Judge Pearson as he now hauls all of his pants with him everywhere he goes.
Overlawyered says the defendants may not, in fact, be able to recover their legal fees -- that's disconcerting, for real.
Jacob Sollum thinks the trial judge's decision was Reasonable.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Puebla, Mexico: Governor Marin: Don't breathe the water at Valsequillo or marry your sister!

Another six-fingered child in Valsequillo

This is the last (for awhile) in the series about the poisoning of the Valsequillo reservoir just outside Puebla, Mexico. Puebla is a city you don't hear much about because it is one of the quietest large cities in the country. It is however, the fifth largest city in the nation and is the home of the gigantic Volkswagen assembly plant.

Reforma reported on June 4 that the various and sundry state health authorities (and there are a bunch of them) had suddenly become quite mum on the subject of their poisoned water supply. A spokesman for the State Health Services said that no comments would be forthcoming until after the results were in on the water testing which had commenced the previous week.

This is a marked change from the previous months when one state health official after another has marched in front of reporters to either deny outright the presence of heavy metal contamination and the attendant birth defects and mutations, including extra appendages and dwarfism in children, or has attempted to minimize the problems.

Like so: Puebla Health Services sent out a press release quoting its director, Roberto Morales, as saying that surveys and mortality rate studies indicated that there was neither acute nor chronic lead poisoning of the Valsequillo inhabitants, and furthermore,
The cases of extra fingers and toes have no relation (to lead poisoning), in truth it is a hereditary disease principally caused by intermarriage.

However, not everyone has been able to keep a lip zipped. Manuel Beristain Gómez, the head of the Puebla office of the Comisión Nacional del Agua (Conagua), set out to prove, again, just how incompetent these political hacks in high places can be. Having already been warned by Puebla University Professor Antonio Valdez García, who has been faithfully reporting this public health disaster for 8 years, not to rely on water samples taken during the rainy season, the undaunted Conagua hack forged ahead:
. . . in testing of samples for heavy metals, it can be confirmed that there is no presence of arsenic, cadmium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead and zinc in the reservoir at Valsequillo.
Uh-huh. Professor Valdez warned the state's health officials that taking water samples during the rainy season would yield skewed results. But, IMHO, if the sample were taken from sediments or from deep water or from the poisoned water wells dug near the lake, the effect of heavy rains would be minimized on the heavy metal content.

So where did Conagua tecnicians take their samples (if any were taken at all)?
The results of the sampling, Beristain explained, taken from both the surface as well as one meter in depth (39.6 inches -- just over one yard deep) did not detect the presence of any metals.
They took their samples (again, if any were taken at all) during the season of almost daily torrential downpours, on the surface and up to 3 feet deep. Congrats!

On June 5, Pedro Rubén Rodríguez, local head of the Profepa office (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente -- Federal Environmental Protection Agency) prevailed with a cooler head. He said that the university studies should receive "respect" and not be discounted. Instead, he suggested, in depth studies should be taken by "a certified entity with legal standing," I think that was a shot at Beristain and Conagua, which lacks certified laboratories to perform tests that would have any legal standing. I think.

Rodríguez said that there are some 200 industrial plants that have certified water treatment facilities out of some 1500 that Profepa monitors. However, he lamented, most municipalities just dump the sewage into the lake.

Rodríguez also made this somewhat startling admission about the municipal sewage treatment plants that do exist and are operable: Rodríguez said that the sewage treatment plants in Puebla don't treat heavy metals.
No, not yet, because their function is not to clean heavy metals because they are plants for treating sanitary sewage.

The treatment to clean heavy metals and chemical products is a physio-chemical (I think I just now made up that term) treatment and, yes, the businesses (the certified ones) have it.
I think that is probably true of almost all sewage treatment plants in the USA as well. Municipal, state and federal authorities must monitor the treatment of heavy metal contamination at its sources, the industrial plants that create it in the first place.

Then Enrique Doger, former rector of Puebla University and now mayor of Puebla, came out speaking from both sides of his mouth, all in the same sentence, like any capable politician. He said, first,
Yes, the lake is contaminated and, yes, there are serious, toxic contaminants, some very serious and some that can have genetic consequences . . .
then, barely pausing to take a breath of polluted Puebla air, he continued,
. . . but I don't believe, and this will also be the position of the Sectretary of Health, I don't believe that if a person is found with mutations that it would necessarily be a result of the contamination of the reservoir.
Well, Puebla Governor and pedophile-enabler Mario Marin doesn't think it's the water, either.

Governor Marin denies that poisoned water causes dwarfism.

Mark in Mexico Puebla Valsequillo Pollution
Mario Marin with Paul Bunyon (l) and Wilt Chamberlain (r)

This is the Mario Marin">quote from Puebla Governor Mario Marin as published in Reforma:
Es cierto que hay contaminación de plomo en sangre por respirar (sic) las aguas negras, que ha producido casos de cáncer, de leucemia.

Translation: It is certain that there is lead contamination of blood from breathing the sewage water which causes cancer, causes leukemia. (emphasis mine)
Leukemia? From Wikipedia on chronic lead pioisoning:
The symptoms of chronic lead poisoning include neurological problems, such as reduced IQ, or nausea, abdominal pain, irritability, insomnia, metal taste in oral cavity, excess lethargy or hyperactivity, headache and, in extreme cases, seizure and coma. There are also associated gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, poor appetite, weight loss, which are common in acute poisoning. Other associated effects are anemia, kidney problems, and reproductive problems.

In humans, lead toxicity sometimes causes the formation of a bluish line along the gums, which is known as the "Burton's line", although this is very uncommon in young children. Blood film examination may reveal "basophilic stippling" of red blood cells, as well as the changes normally associated with iron deficiency anemia (microcytosis and hypochromia).

A direct link between early lead exposure and extreme learning disability has been confirmed by multiple researchers and child advocacy groups.
I don't see leukemia listed. To be fair, I don't see mutations listed either. However:
Mercury is a mutagen (mutation-causing), teratogen, and carcinogen (cancer-causing), with toxicity and environmental effects varying with its form, dose, and route of ingestion, and with the exposed organism's species, sex, age, and general condition (Eisler, 1978a, Fimreite 1979).
So maybe everyone, including yours truly, is a bit too hung up on lead poisoning. But, according to Puebla University's Antonio Valdéz García, the heavy metals contamination in the lake includes lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium, cyanide, copper and cadmium, just to name a few. Check all those out here.

Note: SpellCheck not working, again, sew your on your're own.

Note II: Lots more to come on Puebla's Governor Mario Marín. This Lidia Cacho, pedophile thing just isn't going away. Now the Gober Precioso has the nation's supreme court on his back.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: So, who needs sleep?

The bomb and rocket explosions are almost constant as Sección 22 (the teachers who don't teach) and APPO celebrate the one year anniversary of the failed attempt to oust them from their month-long occupation of the zócalo. Today's mega-march was accompanied by the usual vandalism as the following photos will show.

There are currently 21 hijacked city buses blocking Cinco Señores which APPO and Sección 22 had pledged to leave open. All remaining city buses were pulled off the streets by 6:00, leaving commuters who rely on the buses to make it home or to work on foot. There is also a trailer load of new VW autos hijacked and sitting at Cinco Señores.

The 8 barricades that APPO and Sección 22 had announced they would install were supposed to have been erected at 5;00 PM and removed at 9:30. It ain't happening. I don't know how many barricades are actually in place but it is in the dozens.

APPO and Sección 22 had pledged not to cause any more hardships on the citizens of Oaxaca than necessary for their purposes and the barricades were supposed to have been symbolic in nature. Uh-huh.

The zócalo and the Alameda (the smaller plaza in front of the Cathedral) are full of APPO and Sección 22 boosters and I don't know if they are intending to leave or stay. I'll hoof it over there tomorrow morning and see what's up.

It just started to rain, at least up here on the north side where my office is located. I hope that cools their ardor a bit, but who knows?

I would ask that you carefully examine the following photographs to see how many of the masked thugs you think are teachers and how many are just that -- thugs.

Punks and street thugs

APPOites, not teachers

How many of the masked greaseballs are teachers?

She looks like a teacher. Do you think she set that fire?

Cinco Señores -- blocked again.

I don't think these are teachers. Their sign says "APPO".

The sign on the right in the photo says,
"Ulises and Calderón. The nation's rats."
How did Felipe Calderón get dragged into this?

I would respectfully submit that these morons don't want Felipe Calderón dragged into this. If he comes he will bring it on with several thousand federal riot police and the army if need be.

This is in Mexico City on Paseo de la Reforma. The governor's casket.

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Mexico City: Officials develop sure-fire plan to offset northward migration

Mexico City officials have proposed a plan to offset the northward migration of the Mexican population by attracting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of men from north of the border. This plan, if adopted, will, IMHO, do more to offset the illegal immigration problems in the United States than anything that Kennedy, McCain, Reid and Bush have yet to devise. The proposal is to legalize and control prostitution in the world's largest city. Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico state officials are reportedly discussing the construction of at least six new 24-lane border crossings to handle the expected surge in traffic, all headed south.

As the photo below clearly shows, even the preliminary discussions of this plan have initiated a mad rush to the south and across the border. In the photo, some 300,000 American male citizens jostle in their rush towards the border crossing at Tijuana, Mexican tourist visas in hand. This is only one group that was photographed and includes about half the adult male population of San Diego.

Click to enlarge -- makes them easier to count
Hint: count their feet and divide by two

Now, the Mexico City government's proposal has not met with unanimous approval. The prostitutes themselves, referred to here in polite society as "sexoservidores", are less than enamored with the plan. A group from Apizaco, which is in the state of Tlaxcala, protested in Mexico City's zócalo yesterday. The mayor of Apizaco has proposed an "Adult Recreation Zone" where prostitution would be licensed and controlled. The women say,
We don't agree. Now we can charge 150 pesos (about $50 per hour) for "below the belt work", which includes a room, and in a zone (the adult recreation zone) we would not be able to do that.
The women accuse the politicians of trying to take control of them in order to "bring in younger girls". The currently happily employed (I would suppose) sexoservidores of Apizaco fear that the Adult Recreation Zone will attract "drug addicts, sick people and endanger the women's lives."

As opposed, I guess, to the clean cut doctors, lawyers and other well heeled professionals who now contract their services.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Puebla, Mexico: State government successfully creates race of super human midgets. UPDATE III

If you're a new visitor or haven't read the first 3 posts concerning the environmental and human disaster at Valsequillo reservoir, please read these posts first, and in order. You can bring yourselves up to date.

Puebla, Mexico: State government successfully creates race of super human midgets.
Update I
Update II

These posts detail the 6 decades-long poisoning of Mexico's largest reservoir by at least 22 municipalities which surround it, including two state capitols (Puebla and Tlaxcala) and the nation's fifth largest city (Puebla). The posts quote and link to a series of reports in the respected national daily Reforma which initially blew the lid off of this scandal last October and has been following it ever since.

Unfortunately, you can only see Reforma's front page unless you have a subscription. In any event, Reforma details and I relay to you the poisoning of the lake beginning with its formation in 1946, the abandonment of the lake as a source of income and recreation since 1980 and annual studies carried out since 1999 by a respected university researcher which detail the lead and other heavy metal poisoning of the people who live near the reservoir and the resulting mutations, birth defects, mental retardation and learning defects manifested in the citizens' children. The posts also point out that, once Reforma made a big public spectacle of Valsequillo, the state government's initial reaction seemed to be a reasoned one. But also how, once the bureaucrats became at least dimly aware of the scope and magnitude of the disaster and its attendant costs to fix same, the government of the pedophile-enabling governor Mario Marin, as well as the "Gober precioso" himself, have been furiously back-pedalling.

Now we'll take a look at the latest.

On May 23, the Servicios de Salud del Estado de Puebla (SSEP -- Puebla Health Services) organized what it called a "Sanitary Fence" around the lake. One might also translate "cerco sanitario" as a "quarantine". One would be wrong. The SSEP claimed that it sent in "120 brigade members" to begin testing the lake water for heavy metals and to perform a "public opinion poll". Quite a "sanitary fence", eh?
Howdy. Is it ya'll's opinion that ya got any lead in yer blood? Hows about lead in yer pencil? Ya'll got any of that?
I guess.

And Puebla State University (UAP) professor Antonio Valdez García was quick to point that out.
It will be useless (the SSEP "study") because they're not considering that it's the rainy season and this causes the materials' (heavy metals -- lead, mercury, cadmium, etc.) concentrations to be diluted. The fall of pure water causes the contaminants concentrations to be diluted and they will register their minimal concentrations.

To be reliable (the studies) they'll have to be done during the dry season, in April, January, , February or in November. Now they are biased, during this season they are going to be biased.
The professor didn't have too much confidence in the opinion poll approach and said the study would only be reliable if the SSEP set up a "serious protocol" prior to any study. Gee, ya think?

The professor said that an opinion poll was insufficient and blood tests were necessary.
In addition, the professor criticized the SSEP's even testing adults at all. To begin with, he explained, 90% of ingested lead is expelled by an adult's body. But a child's body retains and accumulates fully 30% of ingested lead.

He suggested that to arrive at a credible result, the state must test pre-school and primary school children.

He insisted that they will have to weigh and measure the children, interview them and conduct blood tests.
And then comes this not-too-surprising and endemic-to-the-entire-Mexican socialist health care system:
Another problem, said Valdez, was that the symptoms of those who had lead in their blood are similar to gastro-intestinal diseases and public health doctors confuse them.

. . .

"The medical personnel that attend to these symptoms are interns (just passing through) and are ill prepared to detect illnesses produced by intoxication from lead and mercury."
Another moron heard from

And now comes the Secretario del Medio Ambiente (state Secretary of the Environment), one Francisco Castillo, ever mindful of the source of his daily graft, to challenge Professor Valdez. Castillo said that the state had found "traces" of lead, but at levels far below those claimed by Prof. Valdez. He called upon the professor to tell him where the lead was found.
"I want that he tells me where it is and not just to pick a fight with him. If pollution exists then we'll take the necessary measures to protect the population."

"As before, if you tell me there is pollution, then, by golly, we must go to the point where it was found."

The secretary asked that there be no speculation about the problem so as to avoid generating alarm.

He maintained that the research that publicized the presence of contaminants in the reservoir lacked substance.
Apparently Secretary Castillo believes that lead concentrations school themselves up like sardines, or something. Here they is and here they ain't. Professor Valdez's 8 years of data indicate that the lead is on the lake water, in it, under it, in the well water surrounding the lake, in the bloodstreams, tissues and milk of cattle that graze around the lake and in the bloodstreams of the adults and children who live all around the lake. Is that good enough for you, Mr. Secretary? It should be easy to find since it never, ever goes away.

To add to the hilarity, these statements were made by Sec'y Castillo on May 31, while the "study" being conducted by the SSEP began on May 23, eight days prior. And the SSEP "study", such as it was, was being conducted at three critical locations: San Baltasar Tetela, Los Ángeles Tetela y San Pedro Zacachimalpa. Professor Valdez had reported the following results from blood tests on 5000 children living around the lake relative to lead concentrations:
Permissible limit per Mexican law: 5 micrograms per liter of blood.

San Baltasar Tetela - 21.4 (more than 4 times the limit)

Los Ángeles Tetela - 21.7 (more than 4 times the limit)

San Pedro Zacachimalpa - 12.7 (more than double the limit)
There you go, Sec'y Castillo. You can start at any one of those three locations, by golly.

More to come as I can get to it.

Note: Spellcheck is working again so this post should not be so fraught with errors.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: The power of prayer

I sat down at my computer for the first time today at 7;30 PM, Central Daylight Savings Time. I opened My Yahoo!. As the page opened, I closed my eyes and said this silent prayer to THORPE, the great God of All American Sport:
Yankees must win, Gordon must win, Boston must lose.
I peeked as the page opened and what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Yankees 13, Pittsburgh 6 F
Arizona 5 Boston 1, F
NASCAR Pocono 500: 1 Gordon; 2 Also Ran

God of All American Sport

All other matters of earthly concern pale by comparison.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Mexico City: New record set -- 21 executed in 24 hours

I think this is a new record. A combination of "explosive devices", 9mm pistols, AK-47's and AR-15's have left 21 dead and 10 wounded throughout Mexico in the past 24 hours.

8 in Guerrero
5 in Chihuahua
3 in México State
2 in Sinaloa
1 in Tlaxcala
2 in Tijuana
21 Total

In addition, 3 police stations were attacked with explosive devices, 2 in Guerrero and one in Tecpan de Galeana, leaving 2 police officers wounded.

Some notes of prurient interest:

In Apizaco, Tlaxcala, a fellow waited for his appointment in attorney Joaquín Suárez García's office, chatting with Suárez García's secretary. When the counselor arrived, they went into his office where seconds later his client left him slumped over his desk, dead.

Of the 21 executed, 4 were taxi drivers. One of them died in a hail of bullets from several masked men wearing body armor and weilding AK-47's. A protest over high taxi fares, perhaps? What's with this, anyway? They've been machine gunning taxi drivers all over the country since the first of the year. The authorities haven't said much, so I'll have to assume that the drug cartels use local taxis to ferry shipments and money from point A to point B. Then they come back to eliminate the drivers -- loose lips sink ships -- or as punishment for inventory losses.

2 died in a possible case of mistaken identity in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua because they had the misfortune to be driving a car, a Dodge Stratus, that looked like an unmarked state police car.

Elsewhere in the border city, gunmen got it right this time when they machine gunned two genuine state policemen.

An auxiliary policeman died at a gasoline station he was guarding when a carload of gunmen drove up, got out, gunned him down, which is what gunmen usually do, then drove away. A protest over the high price of gasoline, perhaps?

Also in Juárez, a guy was executed while standing in line to pay his light bill.

It makes one grateful that one lives in such a peaceful, sleepy little burg like Oaxaca where all we have to worry about are the randomly torched public transportation units, chaos in the streets and spray painted colonial buildings.

I think that's it for the day but the toll could still rise. Reforma was reporting throughout the day yesterday, first that 12 were dead and then later that the sum had increased to 19.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Puebla, Mexico: State government successfully creates race of super human midgets. UPDATE II

Re: the statement by the hack from the Secreariat of Environment and Natural resources that Valsequillo reservoir could not be poisoned because "only" 20-30% of its water supply was raw sewage:
This brings to mind Schopenhauer's law of entropy. If you put a spoonful of wine in a barrel full of sewage, you get sewage. If you put a spoonful of sewage in a barrel full of wine, you get sewage.
Boot Hill, 6 June, 2007
To summerize our sad story so far:
1. The dam in Valsequillo, Puebla was completed in 1946
2. 22 nearby cities, town and villages immediately began dumping their raw sewage into the resulting reservoir.
3. By 1980, the people who lived around the reservoir and made their living from it, began digging water wells because the reservoir's water was no longer fit for human use.
4. By 1990 their water wells had been poisoned from the lakewater by heavy metal contamination as well as fecal coliform and muchos amoebae diferentes.
5. In 1999, Puebla University professor Antonio Valdez García began testing the well water, the reservoir water, local inhabitants' blood as well as cataloging birth defects, human mutations and moderate to severe learning disabilities.
6. Prof. Valdez García continued his annual reporting every year for eight years.
7. In October, 2006, the nationwide daily and most respected newspaper in the country published a detailed report of the human catastrophe occurring at Valsequillo.
8. The Puebla State government initially admitted the scope of the problems and went to work to try to begin to put in place a plan to clean up the reservoir and stop its further contamination.

So, after ignoring a mountain of evidence from a quiet university professor, a newspaper finally got the Puebla State government off the dime and moving in the right direction, right? No, left, er . . . wrong. The State Secretary of Urban development and Public Works, Javier García Ramírez, on November 16, 2006, said,
It can be seen in the children of the region that they suffer from low height (dwarfism) and they don't grow much because of the high lead contamination of the water. This must be treated as a public health problem.
Secretary García Ramírez still has his job, I suppose, but he hasn't been heard from since.

On 22 May of this year, Roberto Morales, head of Los Servicios de Salud del Estado de Puebla (Puebla State Health Services), said,
When the researcher asks us and tells us with concrete evidence that he is certain that there is a contaminated area, with all due respect we'll look into it.

But not just because someone says there is an endemic illness in Chalchicomula are we going to go there.
In other words, by ignoring 8 years of faithfully filed reports as well as newspaper reports which blew the lid off this, Boss Morales says there is no problem. He has to have concrete evidence presented to him before the state's public health service will even visit the issue.

What is also interesting here is the choice of words used by Boss Morales. What he is quoted as saying is this: "Pero no porque alguien diga hay una endemia en Chalchicomula, nos vamos a ir allá", manifestó el Secretario." Notice the word he used which I translated as "endemic illness", endemia.
Definición de endemia
Se entiende por endemia la existencia en un área o región de una enfermedad dentro de una proporción no significativa sobre el número de casos habituales en ella.

Translation: It is understood by "endemia" the existence in an area or region a disease of an insignificant number of habitual cases within that area of region.
Professor García Valdez says that 10% of the total population exhibits birth defects, mutations and brain damage from the poisoned water supply. The professor examined 200 children and 50 of them exhibited the same problems. That's, lessee here, 25%. One has to wonder what Boss Morales would consider a "significant proportion". Probably 99% of the campesino population or .0001% of the high ranking, overpaid and incompetent bureaucrat population.

Reforma concludes this sad report:
Also, the Secretary of Urban Development, Javier García, admitted that there do exist cases of children with lead in their bloodstreams, but Morales, responsible for public health in Puebla, played down the importance of the issue.
We move right along.

Here in the June 4 Reforma, their article begins:
Children with 6 fingers and toes, cleft lip, cleft palate and mental retardation are some of the effects of the water contamination in the reservoir at Valsequillo, Puebla.
The newspaper goes on to quote Professor García Valdez´s study results in San José Tejaluca, located 500 meters from the lake.

Population: 500
Children examined: 200
High lead content in bloodstream: 200
Exhibiting one or more malformations or mutations: 50
Percent of children with malformations or mutations: 25%
Percent of total population with malformations or mutations: 10%

Reforma talked to a couple of other health experts.
Libia Vega Loyo, chief of the Laboratorio de Genética Toxicológica e Inmunología del Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (Genetic Toxicololy and Immunology Laboratory of the National Politechnic Institute), confirmed that the registered level (of lead) is extremely elevated.

"Levels (of lead) above normal alter development, especially among the youngest children, reduce learning capacity, cause mental retardation and neuroligical deficiencies."
And from Carlos Vargas, of the Centro de Estudios del Nacimiento (Center for Birth Studies) says that damage from high lead levels is irreversible and,
What is most critical is that it affects the central and peripheral nervous system. For this reason something must be done.
The Professor Feels The Pressure

Keeping in mind that he does work for a state sponsored institution, I nevertheless am a bit disappointed in Professor García Valdez's latest statement to Reforma. In spite of the support from a very powerful and highly respected national publication, he now says,
The malformations not only originate from the environment. That is a factor. But in this population another influential cause is the poverty as well as the lack of folic acid in mothers and the high rate of "blood mixing" . . . that is to say, intermarriage.
Intermarriage, also known as incest. Hmmm. While the good researcher has without doubt been coming under an increasing amount of pressure from the university, surely he doesn't expect us to buy that. The conditions he described are endemic to most of the population of Mexico, not just to the Valsequillo area. In fact, these conditions are far worse in many other areas of the country, specifically Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas. But high levels of lead, up to 5 times the safe high limit, as well as 25% of the children suffering birth defects to one degree or another, do not exist in those or any other locales, at least to my knowledge.

There is no doubt that birth defects, mental retardation and mutancy also occur in higher proportions in Mexico than most anywhere else in the Americas, but nothing like this degree of severity and frequency exist anywhere else as they do in Valsequillo.

And the Kids?

Seven year-old Gonzalo, the boy pictured with 24 digits instead of the normal 20?
I don't know why I'm like this. I was born like this.

I do my homework. I wash my hands.
And there are others, like nine year-old Eric, who gets exited when his favorite soccer team, Chivas, is mentioned and brags that on the soccer pitch he has a "fearful cannon". He talks about his extra fingers and toes:
No one has told me it is a bad thing. I can do what I want, play like everyone else and I go to school.

More to come -- this ain't going away.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Puebla, Mexico: State government successfully creates race of super human midgets. UPDATE 1

In the previous post I detailed the health problems at the Valsequillo reservoir, the largest in Mexico. I took you from October of last year when Reforma first blew the lid off this decades-long travesty through the Puebla state government's initial reaction to the Reforma reports. In reality, at least in the mind of a politician, the government's reaction seems reasonable. "We've got a problem that has existed for a long, long time and we are putting together a plan to address it."

That didn't last long.

First, I'll return to the timeline established by the reports from Reforma. As you'll recall the initial report in Reforma was published on October 29, 2006 and detailed the 8 years of work done by University of Puebla (UAP) researcher Professor Antonio Valdez García. Prof. García had dutifully catalogued, for 8 years, the cases of birth defects, mutations, learning disabilities and a host of diseases brought on by people's water wells being poisoned by the reservoir's water.

On November 16, Reforma published an interview with Ricardo Meneses, 87, who at one time made a living fishing on the reservoir. According to Reforma, Meneses still lived "with the illusion of returning to fish in Valsequillo." Reforma quoted Meneses and used this quote as the title to their 11/16 report:
"Esa agua apesta y ya no sirve"
"That water reeks and is useless."
Meneses went on to reminisce of days long gone by:
What a time! It had carp and bluegill. The fish were enormous, a half a meter (20") and 6 to 7 kilos (12-14 lbs.).

They came from the markets in Puebla, San Martin Texmelucan and even from Mexico City because the fish here were delicious. But now, pure sh*t and water lilies. That water reeks and is useless.
Reforma's reporter said that within 200 meters of the dam itself he could see at least 5 restaurants and 2 hotels but very few customers. And none of the restaurants served any fish.

Before, the families lived by fishing and many had bake ovens in their houses. But that all ended. Tourism ended also and although there are still restaurants, nobody visits them anymore.
"But with the promised reservoir cleanup project by the state, Meneses dreams of fishing Valsequillo once again." Dream on.

On Novemebr 17, Reforma reported that the state had discovered a privately owned waste water treatment plant that has been in disuse since the factory in which it is located was closed in 2004. Only one catch. It is owned by Kamel Nacif (El Rey de la Mezclilla -- The King of Blue Jeans, of Lydia Cacho and "Mi gober precioso" fame. In any event, state officials say that if they could bring that treatment plant online, it has the capacity to treat all the industrial, commercial and residential sewage from three of the largest industrial parks in the city as well as the neighborhoods that surround them. With all the problems that the accused pedophile Nacif has as well as those of his enabler, Puebla governor Mario Marín, the plant may prove to be just a bit too pricey.

In any event, this was also the first time that Reforma reported that Puebla state officials were beginning to try to downplay the water contamination problems. One Joel Gutiérrez, head of -- take a deep breath -- La Unidad de Apoyo Ejecutivo de la Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (The Executive Support Unit for the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources) proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no idea what he's talking about. He pooh-poohed the idea that an environmental crisis existed and rejected the eight years worth of reports about heavy metal content in the reservoir as well as its consequences on the people living nearby.
"The Valsequillo reservoir receives about 300 million cubic meters of wate annually and the waste water that arrives at the lake is no more than 70 or 80 million cubic meters.

This indicates that the greater quantity of water that supplies the reservoir is rainwater . . . It is not pure sewage but a mixture of rainwater and residual water." (emphasis mine)

Furthermore, he said that the waste treatment plants in Puebla improved the quality of liquid in Valsequillo.
Well, I'm sure that treating the water doesn't make it any worse. What this moron doesn't seem to understand is that if only 20-30% of the water entering the reservoir is poison, the entire watershed is poisoned.

We continue.

On March 14 of this year, Reforma reported that the state was claiming that it had earmarked 70 million pesos for the "rescue" of Valsequillo. Manuel Beristáin, delegate (whatever that is) for the Comisión Nacional del Agua admitted that the total cost to clean up the lake would be 3 billion, 800 million pesos, or about 350 million dollars. If you think about that number versus the situation -- a huge reservoir contaminated by lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, fecal coliform and amoebae run amok, poisoned water wells supplying drinking water to 5000 inhabitants, 10% of whom (25% of the children) exibit birth defects, mutations, brain damage and learning disabilities -- 350 million dollars is a spit in the ocean, or in the reservoir, or wherever you'd care to spit.

There was a very curious statement made by delegate Beristáin with regards to the apportionment of the initial 70 million pesos. He said,
Of the 22 municipalities adjacent to Valsequillo, only those which present viable projects for the treatment of their sewage and residual water will be allowed to share the 70 million pesos.

They will construct sewage treatment plants and sewage collection networks to stop dumping their sewage into the Atoyac River and then on to Valsequillo.
What about the municipalities that do not present a "viable project" as well as those that present an "unviable project"? Is the state going to move in with bulldozers and pinch off their sewage pipes to the river? Caterpillar can hear the shysters drawing up the lawsuits now.

Much more to come. This will whet your appetite. The state is beginning to vociferously deny high heavy metal content and is blaming the birth defects and mutations on -- wait for this -- incest. And governor Mario Marín weighed in this morning with his newly acquired tecnical expertise, ala Al Gore, to claim that none of the health problems detailed by university professor García are caused by lead. "Lead only causes leukemia," quoth the Gober Precioso.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Puebla, Mexico: State government successfully creates race of super human midgets

Count'em yourself. I make it six.
This youngster has 6 fingers on each hand as well as 6 toes on each foot. 24 digits in all. Reforma took down the original photo that was posted early this morning showing all 24 perfectly formed digits.
UPDATE: Whoops, here it is again.
Count'em yourself. I make it twenty-four.

The title to this post may seem to seek to make light of a tragic situation but I assure you I see no humor in this. It's just that the reaction by state officials to the human suffering would lead one to believe that the Puebla state government is, in fact, in favor of creating mutant midgets.

Where shall we start? Let's try back in 1999 when Puebla University researcher Antonio Valdez García began to report on mutations showing up in children living around the Valsequillo reservoir, about 18 miles south of Puebla City. Prof. García has been updating his reports every year since 1999 and no one has been paying any attention. That's 8 years worth of reports on mutations such as the pictured 6 toes and fingers, cleft lip, cleft palate, skin lesions, low body weights, stunted growth (dwarfism) and babies born with various levels of brain damage. Prof. García's reports were all made available to state health and environmental control officials who, of course, ingnored them.

In addition to the reports on birth defects and mutations, Prof. García did thousands of tests on the water at various points in and around the reservoir. He also has reported faithfully, since 1999, unacceptably dangerous levels of heavy metals including but not limited to lead, chromium, cadmium and mercury in the water. He also took blood samples from the children living in the towns and villages around the reservoir and reported that many had up to 5 times the high limit of lead in their bloodstreams.

Finally, back in October of last year, Reforma got wind of Prof. García and the poisonous brew in the Valsequillo reservoir and sprayed it all over the pages of the newspaper. Again, no meaningful action from state or federal officials.

The Valsequillo reservoir, built in 1946 and whose official name is Manuel Ávila Camacho, named after the crooked PRI president who made a fortune from the construction of the dam that formed the reservoir, ceased to be of any recreational use by about 1980. The water was too filthy and smelled so bad that no one wanted to vacation there anymore. The folks living around the reservoir started digging wells because they couldn't drink the water.

By 1990, the wells had all been poisoned by the water from the reservoir. In 1999, Prof. García began his quixotic quest to inform state officials of the consequences of their incompetence. To no avail, of course.

And it doesn't stop with 6-toed underwight and altitude challenged 12 year-old dwarfs. The reservoir is choked with water lilies -- lily pads -- and is no longer of any use to boaters. However, the campesinos who live near the reservoir send down their cattle to munch on the lily pads. The water lilies are loaded with the heavy metals which then enter the tissues of the cattle. Many of the cattle are milk cows and the poisoned milk is then sold to the townspeople and villagers around the lake as well as sent on to Puebla. The beef cattle as well as older non-producing dairy cattle are butchered and the meat is sold for human consumption in Puebla.

And anybody foolish enough to come in direct contact with the reservoir's water faces outageously high levels of coliform and every imaginable type of amoeba. Colic, diahrrea, salmonella and typhoid are just a few of the deseases listed by Prof. García as risks if you come in any contact with the reservoir's water.

The link above and most of the information up to this point in the post is from the October 29, 2006 Reforma report. Let's fast forward to November 16, 2006, when a state official finally was heard from. This from the state Secretary of Desarrollo Urbano y Obras Públicas de Puebla (SEDUOP), Javier García Ramírez:
It can be seen in the children of the region that they suffer from low height (dwarfism) and they don't grow much because of the high lead contamination of the water. This must be treated as a public health problem.
Gee, ya think?

Sec'y García Ramírez laid out a plan to attack this problem which had been festering (literally) since 1946. First, the state would construct "colectores marginales" (marginal collectors) which would preclude the dumping of raw sewage by some 22 municipaities, including Puebla, the 5th largest city in the country, as well as over 100 waste producing businesses directly into the Atoyac River, the principal source for the reservoir.

Let's think about that first step for just a moment, shall we? What happens when the "colectores marginales" get full, an ocurrence which occurs every day? Why, they open the floodgates and dump it all into the river, just as before the "colectores marginales" were built by a construction company closely allied with one politician's family or another. I can tell you from personal experience that you can shoot a round of golf at the Puebla Country Club in the afternoon and everything is all rosy. Then you pass back through the area at 10:00 at night and the air is unbreathable. The stink will make you wretch. They open the gates and fill the river with raw sewage and industrial waste at night when you can't see it. And the people who live in and around the area on the south side of town continue to march faithfully to the polls and return the PRI to power, just as they have done for 80 some odd years.

We continue with the official "plan" of the state of Puebla. The second step was to be to arrange the construction of sewage treatment plants. But as a "preliminary measure", some 22 cities, towns and villages would have to construct sewage lines. That's right folks, to date there are some 22 municipalities whose sewage treatment process consists solely or at least mainly of tubes running directly to the Rio Atoyac. Do not pass go, do not collect $100. Those 22 municipalities include, but are not limited to Puebla, San Martín Texmelucan, Xoxtla, Cuautlancingo, Coronango, Juan C. Bonilla, Ocoyucan, San Andrés and San Pedro Cholula, Calpan, San Matías Tlalancaleca, San Salvador El Verde, Santa Rita Tlahuapan y Huejotzingo. The raw sewege and industrial effluent comes from as far north as Tlaxcala.

So, afer building "colectores marginales" to hold the raw sewage and industrial effluents for 24 hours or so before dumping it all into the river and later into the Valsequillo reservoir, and then installing sewage systems in 22 municipalities including the 5th largest city in the state, the state officials would then begin to look for financing to build and bring online the sewage treatment plants. The United States contributed 800 thousand dollars for the "development of the rescue plan". The state government has talked to Japanese banks, German banks and the Inter-American Development Bank. That is as far as they have gone with this "rescue plan" as far as I can see.

More from Sec'y García Ramírez:
Over the many past decades, this water (sewage) arrived at the Rio Atoyac (and thence to the Valsequillo reservoir) without treatment; domestic sewage with coliform and industrial sewage with lead or whatever depending on the type of manufacturing plant. Now is the time to clean up the reservoir.
Gee, ya think? But I repeat myself.

Ricardo Meneses, 87, remembers what it was once like:

I need to get this posted so I'll write at least one more post to get you updated. In the meantime, if you've got a subscription to Reforma, you can follow the story's progress, or lack thereof, at the following links:


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