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work in and for America. Allen doesn’t score too well on any of this. Indeed, one Wall Street analyst points out he isn’t that hot of a honcho, saying: “He’s an average performer… not even a face card, he’s a _seven in the deck.” Don’t you think it’s time we brought back “the stocks” as public punishment not for those who steal food so they can feed their families, but for those profiteers like Robert Allen who steal from forty thousand families to fatten themselves. SCIENCE OF ARROGANCE Have you ever been strapped in a dentist’s chair numb with Novocaine, with sharp drills screaming all around you, the dentist elbow deep in your mouth and you thinking, “It can’t get any worse than this”…only to hear your dentist suddenly say: “Oops!” Well, buckle up neighbors, because the world’s biotech industry, which has been elbow deep in the mouth of Mother Nature, has just said “Oops!” These are the people who mess with our natural word’s genetic make-up, claiming that they can “improve” on nature by taking a couple of genes from this plant, one from that one, put ’em all in this one andpresto change-oa new bionic wonder plant. For example, bio-engineers in Denmark recently scrambled some new genes into the plant that makes canola oil so it can absorb more weed-killers without dying. The idea was that fields could be soaked in weed killers without killing the canola-oil plant. This is bassackward thinking to start withbetter to engineer plants that are weed-tolerant, rather than poison-tolerant, thereby lessening the amount of poisons we spray on earth. However, this would offend the chemical companies. But, oops! It turns out this poison-tolerant gene did not stay in the genetically-engineered canola-oil plantit migrated almost immediately into the weeds in the field. That’s right, now the very weeds they were trying to kill are poison-tolerant, making the whole exercise moot… not to mention stupid. The Denmark case is a giant warning signal for us. Bio-engineering companies have arrogantly dismissed public concern about what they are doing, claiming that their little laboratory creations could not possibly escape in the fields and screw up our ecology. But there they are, loose in Denmark. Dentists usually can fix their mistakes, but a bio-engineering “oops” can echo forever. C NEWT’S BACKROOM BOYS Remember when Newt Gingrich took charge last yearRootie Toot, Here Came the Newtpromising to make Washington change its corrupt ways and stop its backroom dealings. Where did that guy go? Into the backrooms, that’s where. One particular backroom favored by Newt is number 227 in the Capitol, occupied by something called “The Thursday Group”: Eight advisors, hand-picked by Newt, who literally help write his legislative agenda, and then provide the lobbying muscle to shove it through the House. It meets at least weekly, often daily, with the Republican leadership teamindeed, the Thursday Group is a member of the leadership team, wielding unique, unbelievable power over national policy. Who are they?The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Wholesalers and the National Restaurant Association. Oh, and here’s one called “Citizens for a Sound Economy.” “Hey,” you say, “I’m a citizen and I’m for During a recent “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno joked that a new study shows that men who eat ten pizzas a week are less likely to develop prostate problems but more likely to require size 54 pants. What is the scoop about diet and prostate cancer? Cancer cells are pretty much inevitable in seventyto eighty-year-old men. In fact, clusters of cancer cells in the prostate have been seen in young men in their thirties. In the U.S. and Europe, as compared to Asia, these cancer cells can progress to clinical cancer. Some studies conducted years ago suggested that low saturated-fat diets, high in carotene, might keep these prostrate cancer cells from growing. Jay Leno, however, was probably referring to a more recent study which focused on the possible cancer-preventing properties of five major carotenoids \(carotene gives some fruits and Four of the carotenoids were found to have no effect. The fifth carotene, lycopene, however, did show some effect. The risk of prostate cancer was one-third lower in men in the fortyto seventy-five-year-old age group who ate tomato-based products more than ten times a week, than in men who ate tomato-based products less than twice a week. Even those who ate tomato sauce once a week had a twenty-three percent lower risk of developing prostrate cancer than those who never ate tomato sauce. Raw Marvin S. Legator is a professor and director of the Division of Environmental Toxicology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Amanda M. Howells-Daniel is with the Toxics Assistance Program at the University of Texas Medical Branch. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of UTMB Galveston. a sound economy, maybe this outfit speaks for me.” Sure, Bucko, like Colonel Sanders speaks for chickens. These “citizens” are Citibank, Chevron, Philip Morris, General Motors and dozens of other major corporations, including such foreign “citizens” as Toyota, Sony, British Petroleum and BMW. Not only does this select group of very special interests write anti-consumer, anti-environmental, anti-worker laws that put profits in their pockets at our expense, but they also are political fund-raisers for Newt and his Republican majority. Newt Gingrich doesn’t represent business as usual…he represents Business more than usual. tomatoes showed only a slightly lower risk, and tomato juice was not linked to lower risk at all, probably because not much lycopene is absorbed from the juice. Tomato sauce had the strongest association with reducing prostate cancer risk. The authors of the study even had a plausible explanation why the tomatoes in spaghetti or pizza sauce are the way to go. It seems that a little bit of oil is needed to release the lycopenes in tomatoes. Unlike tomato juice, spaghetti sauce contains the oil needed to release the lycopenes in the tomatoes. On average, lycopene is the highest of all the carotenoids in the blood and in prostate tissues, and it may have twice the antioxidant potency of beta carotene. IN A PAST ARTICLE, we discussed the dangers associated with olestra, the artificial fat substitute that will be used in a variety of foods, including potato chips. One of the major concerns regarding the widespread use of this artificial fat substitute is that it reduces the amount of all types of carotene in the blood. The authors of the tomato study cautioned that if someone is eating tomatoes and consuming olestra potato chips, lycopene may not be absorbed. So Jay Leno was right on. We fatties now have an excellent excuse to gorge ourselves on pizza and spaghetti, while skinny characters, drinking tomato juice and eating raw carrots and the soon-to-be-available fat-free potato chips, are in big trouble. In our outreach program Web site homepage, you will find our past columns, including the spirited attack on New York Bagels. Hopefully you will also find “food for thought” on a variety of serious issues dealing with survival in a chemical world. Our Internet address is: Marvin S. Legator and Amanda M. Howells-Daniel A CHEMICAL WORLD THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13