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Potpourri

| August 3, 2005 12:00 AM

If you're a vitamin or vitamin taker, take cover. You're probably about to be called ineffective, worthless or worse — dangerous.

In recent weeks, medical scientists have reported that echinacea has little or no effect on cold sufferers and does less in preventing colds. The herbal supplement made from purple coneflower has been used by millions of Americans to prevent or treat colds.

This isn't the first time echinacea has been under scientific scrutiny. But past studies were said to be not very thorough.

Now scientists are saying Vitamin E shouldn't be depended on to prevent heart disease or cancer in average healthy Americans. There may be some benefit to people with unhealthy conditions. And it may make things worse. Which is it?

We haven't had a bout of studies about Vitamin C in at least 6 months. That should be next. Right after the rest of the union follows Oregon in making over-the-counter cold remedies containing ingredients that can be used in the manufacture of meth available only with a doctor s prescription. Just passed the Oregon Legislature Saturday.

Are they protecting us or killing us? Pharmaceutical companies must be hurting.

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Last month, Congress gave themselves a 1.9 percent wage increase through the Transportation-Treasury-HUD-Judiciary-DC spending bill. For the fifth consecutive time Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has protested the increase question Congresses shared sacrifice during a time of war. Plus, Matheson argued, with a near $8 trillion debt, it's not good fiscal policy.

The raise amounts to $3,100 a year and boosts a member of the House of Representative's salary to $165,200 a year. Matheson said he will give his raise to a Utah charity — again.

This is the fifth time in five years for the House members.

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Montana U.S. Senator Max Baucus was the lone vote of dissent July 15 against the nomination of Granta Nakayama, the attorney from a firm representing W.R. Grace in its bankruptcy case and representing Grace in the criminal case in U.S.. District Court in Missoula, to be head of the EPA's enforcement division.

Nakayama's nomination passed from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 17-1 in nominating Nakayama.

Nakayma has told Senators that he would excuse himself on matters dealing with Libby, which is just the top priority for the EPA these days. Their words, not mine.

The nomination moves to the Senate floor for a vote.

It all brings to mind that saying: iThe more things change, the more they stay the same.i — Roger Morris