business news in context, analysis with attitude

We received a number of emails regarding our stories and commentary about mercury in certain kinds of seafood, including this note from MNB user Jem Welsh of Nutritional Sciences Inc.:

“People should be worried about mercury levels from foods and the environment. There are preliminary reports that heavy metal poisoning can cause a number of problems and is already linked to neuro cognitive issues. Being in the nutrition industry, we often have to balance the best sources of proteins, etc. with the potential dangers from eating certain foods. One person in the industry, a devoted professional that had a great diet, with fatty fish sources (tuna, salmon, halibut) in his diet. He tested his mercury levels and found them SIX times the normal range.

“People can (and should) get their heavy metal levels checked through lab analyses. People should also be concerned about parasites, which have crossed the borders from other countries and can be found in our food supply. Lead, arsenic, cadmium...well, the list of metals found in our bodies goes on and on.

“There are laboratories that provide mail-in test kits, which will check your levels of metals, parasites, etc. Often, people are fatigued and don't know why. These tests could be an eye-opener for people. Do a search for heavy metal intoxication to learn more. Also, look for a good diagnostic lab service, like Great Smokies Labs or Doctor's Data. It can be worth the look-see.”

We’re fatigued, but we always figured it was getting up at 4 a.m. to write MNB. Who woulda thunk it was the seafood?

Being the father of two teenagers, we also never would’ve expected that there would be more heavy metal in our diet than in their CD collections…

And to think, it was just yesterday that we were starting to feel better about mercury in seafood. MNB user Don Sutton wrote:

“I hate to drop one more wet blanket on your new euphoria about eating seafood containing methylmercury, but there is one facet of the problem that nobody mentioned: methylmercury does not go straight through the system and flush out completely. It has a pesky habit of accumulating. The real worry is not about immediate harm (except to a fetus), but rather the long term effects that will say "hi" down the road.

“When in doubt, avoiding this kind of toxin is probably more than reasonably prudent.”


In response to some of our stories about economic indicators, we got the following email from a member of the MNB community:

“Where does the money go?

“I realize that this is a naive question, but nevertheless I want to know.

“OK, it's a bad economy. Consumers aren't spending the money because businesses aren't making much money (at least in part because consumers aren't buying...a vicious cycle). So if the money isn't in that system, where has it gone? Perhaps to the manufacturers and assemblers outside our country whose cheap labor and low costs exsanguinate the funds from our economy? Oh sure, government cannot be held blameless but perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to lay ALL the blame at the government's door when wholesalers, retailers and consumers are buying more and more daily items from cheaper foreign sources.”

In our commentary yesterday, we asked that you folks not shoot the messenger; sometimes we get criticized for being the bearer of bad news. MNB user Mark Heckman wrote with some advice:

“Consider yourself spared. I do think it’s logical to understand that Middle America is wary of the lack of job growth and 6 percent unemployment. But I would like to know how you pick which economic stories that appear on MNB. I'm not saying the ABC poll isn't newsworthy, but there was some positive news about same store performance for chain stores, that made many of the wires as well. You have an awesome responsibility in being fair and balanced. Better you than me!

“As far as the poll itself, I would caution you to be careful about national (random sampling) when it comes to projecting actual pervasive opinion. Unless the pollsters are taking a "stratified sample" where they are certain they are getting an accurate cross-section of demographics, their respondents will likely skew to the middle class and the unemployed, who happen to have more time to answer surveys.....which I would suspect think that the "rich" are getting more than they need with the Bush plan.

“I read ABCNEWS/Money Magazines methodology, and they appear to be using a pure random sample. It's clear, however, that they are tracking a valid change in economic and foreign policy perceptions no matter what group they are tracking, much to the chagrin of Mr. Bush.”

No kidding. Check out this email from another MNB user:

“What's amazing about this poll is that 47% either have no opinion or believe the president is doing a good job with the economy. Scary!”

By the way, our methodology when it comes to what economic news (and every other kind of news, for that matter) to include on MNB is simple.

Fueled by caffeine, we try to decide what is interesting, relevant and fair…and then run it. If we see the opportunity to write interesting commentary about a story, its chances of appearing improve. If we think it will generate MNB user reaction/outrage, the chances improve even more.

And if a news story provokes our joke reflex, then it is almost a sure thing that it’ll make the MNB lineup.
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