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Steele shackles

By Tom Toles


What's missing from this picture?

Yesterday The Post reprinted a piece from Slate about which kind of salt is environmentally better. Basically, it discussed getting salt from the salty sea or digging it out of a salt mine, the traditional definition of hard work. But did you ever read an article and think that it kind of just skipped an important question altogether?

Sea salt is what's left when you evaporate the water from sea water. I guess that's mostly salt, but, uh, what ELSE is in that water? Last I heard, it was sort of... polluted. Are there contaminants in sea salt? The article doesn't say, or ask. Heavy metals come to mind. Are there heavy metals in sea salt? Does anyone know? Does anyone check?

And on the subject of missing ingredients, there is a great genre of journalism that I suppose is known as the medical-mystery story. A patient has a baffling array of symptoms that confounds a series of doctors and leads to scary misdiagnoses, suffering and frustration, until a happenstance encounter with a crafty old doc who, oh yes, remembers an odd case from 35 years ago that had the same constellation of symptoms, and the proper diagnosis and treatment are forthcoming and finally lead to a happy ending. What these stories routinely leave out is the consultation with the National Odd Symptoms Array Database (No-Sad). Does such a database exist? This is the kind of problem that computers are really good at. If it doesn't exist, why the heck not?

--Tom Toles



By Tom Toles  | March 31, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  GOP, Scandals  
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I agree with Wiggan that Steele was not known to be at the club. And if he had, it is unlikely he was the one dressed up like that. Nor was there an elephant there, and the club was not called Grand Mistress Michael Steel's Humiliation Club. And if it was, it would be written on the other side of the door. If not for the clarity provided by the right-wing nut cases, I'd think Toles using this slightly embarrassing situation to make a different point.

Posted by: donpaluh1 | April 1, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Re: metals in sea salt

There are several companies in the business of extracting metals, principally gold, from salt water. However, they prefer to work with Great Salt Lake and other such highly concentrated sources rather than the oceans.

See, for example,
What minerals are produced from Great Salt Lake?
How and by whom are they recovered?

Sea salt contains mercury, arsenic, and other toxic metals, but at levels below government safety limits. You may remember that there was a dustup between the Bush and Clinton administrations over arsenic in well water, immortalized among the cognoscenti in Tom Paxton's protest song, Shut Up and Drink Your Arsenic.

re: weird symptoms

The problem is not so much with rare and strange symptoms, such as blue sweat from thallium poisoning, but with the many diseases that have combinations of otherwise fairly common symptoms. You can observe this idea on any episode of House MD, although it is important to remember that not all aspects of the show have any connection to the realities of medical practice. They are always naming diseases that have all of the symptoms of their case but one, or that have all of those symptoms and one more. Among other problems.

Posted by: Antibogotes | March 31, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow,that bull dike with the whip is PELOSI!

Posted by: mikeglossy | March 31, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to Toles to distort a staffer wrongfully claiming a $1600 tab with donors in a lesbien S&M club as personal participation by Steele. You do know that Steele wasn't there, don't you Mr. Toles? You do know they fired that staffer, don't you Mr. Toles?

The really sad thing is this cartoonish distortion of reality, which is appropriate for cartoons, has been picked up as a serious topic of conversation by the likes of Kathleen Parker (The party's over for RNC head Michael Steele).

You see one can sort of dismiss this association within the context of a cartoon a distortion, but when that becomes the red meat of journalism at the Post, well, we have indeed reached a sad day. It seems ingorance and lies snowball at the post.

Mr. Toles, most of the Earth's surface is covered in ocean. It is a vast resevoir that takes some 800 years to respond to temperature changes. We, mankind, are a small little blip compared to that. I suspect your fear of contaminants in the ocean comes from the whole mercury salmon thing. Mercury concentrates in these fish because over lifespans of eating smaller fish who eat even smaller fish, you concentrate those metals in the diet. So a trace element can be concentrated over years of diet into the top of a food chain, and that trace level is completely safe.

So unless you are taking water from the bilge stream of a barge, odds are that ocean water is really clean Mr. Toles. Evaporating water in a period of days is not going to concentrate heavy metals like you get in fish.

Now as regards to using databases of symptoms to diagnose problems- consider if you will, you were to tally up the deaths per month due to drowning. Then you were also to tally up ice cream consumption per month. Imagine if you will, your marvelous database arriving at the wonderous conclusion that ice cream causes drowning, when they find a strong statistical correlation betweent he two (people swim more in the summer, and eat more ice cream in the summer)? This is a huge problem in medicine and reasoning, to assume correlation implies causality. Correlation at best is a hunch starting point to begin serious inquiry.

Posted by: Wiggan | March 31, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

MR TOLES,,,, Nice article, tho I'm stil trying to understand it. Maybe it's because I disagree with the President and with the current Congress.

We speak, we say, we vent, legally of course, but we be not heard.

My congressman Patrick Murphy is in hiding. I called to voice my opinion, respectfully and LEGALLY, but I was hung up on. Nice guy!



Posted by: barrysal | March 31, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Tom Toles is a hack.

Posted by: cfw730 | March 31, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeedy-still a hoot on this one. However, it is time for our government to get serious. We all need a time out but, not on company time. And it would not be so bad but, couldn't they have gone to something more appropiate like Hefner's place. At least it would have been perhaps tasteful. "A bunny here and a bunny there...hop,hop" The bondage thing just reeks-so nasty.

Posted by: Scar1 | March 31, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Nastiness from the left, nastiness from the right.
If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bulls**t.
When you look in the mirror what do you see? You see a reflection of yourself and wish the same thing on America. Get over it.
The continual swing from left to right and back again will be the death of America. If you can't learn moderation you will live in constant anger. Maybe that's good. You'll all die of apoplexy.

Posted by: waggoner41 | March 31, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"The article doesn't say, or ask. Heavy metals come to mind. Are there heavy metals in sea salt?"

Can't say, but I have heard it said that the ocean's water is one of the largest deposits of gold dust. Perhaps these "sea salters" are actually evaporating the water to get to the gold and selling the salt as an added bonus!

Posted by: ATrueChristian | March 31, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Try this one ten times fast: "Sidney successfully sells Sally's sisters sea-salt sitting by the sea-side." If that goes okay, heavy metals are probably not affecting your health. (That's in that database TT mentions.)

Posted by: dudeupnorth | March 31, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

bobmoses, where is your voice in speaking truth to power? Huh? The RNC poohbah flies and boards in fine style with OPM (other people's $) and somehow allows a tab to the S&M club to be reimbursed with the same OPM? Where is the good stewardship (and good sense) that goes with spending from the RNC coffers?

You are truly intellectually and morally dishonest, just like Mike Steele. Good job, TT!

Posted by: meldupree | March 31, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Yea,buying votes with billions is really making them work.

Posted by: samuellenn | March 31, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Both Toles and Kathleen Parker are trying to pull the wool over our eyes on this one.

Posted by: quiensabe | March 31, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, TT -- I laughed right out loud at that one. And to your distractors I would offer this: if it were Dems at the S&M girlie bar, the cartoon would have had Dr. Dean in the same outfit with a donkey in bindings. The only difference is that the cartoon guy may have added a stethoscope for the medical identity effect.

Posted by: dudeupnorth | March 31, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

This is nonsense. And nasty nonsense at that.

Posted by: gary4books | March 31, 2010 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Well we must remember folks that they spent a lot of money trying bring down the President and the Government of the United States of America. Now they have to make it up. I say go get it from your leaders Rush and friends, Tea Bagers. All of them that tried to rip down America.

Posted by: rutoft64 | March 31, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

It's bad enough that Toles is a boring and predictable partisan, but does he have to be dishonest too?

Steele had nothing to do with the money spent at the club, but like most partisan cheap shot artists, Toles won't let the facts get in the way of his ceaseless battle against people who don't share his political opinions.

Posted by: bobmoses | March 31, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Ah yes, the old Jamacian switch. When the Dems are feeling the heat, the master distraction of throwing a Republican story out there to divert the attention away from this administration and they try to sneak in more signing of bills, with the wolves in a pack as a backdrop for the signature. Pelosi licking her chops.

There style of governing has grown very tiresome and predictable. What happen to the "Don't ask, don't tell thinking? Nah, just when it suits them.

Is this to say that the Dem are not so liberal? After all through with their same sex partner's were embraced for the Easter Egg Roll last year.

Obama leads through scare tactics and fear. The Fool's Rush song title comes to mind in forcing through Obamacare.

Posted by: fromthecheapseats | March 30, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I sure wish Oliphant was at the Post. Mr. Toles could sharpen his pencils for him.

Posted by: bobbo2 | March 30, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Actually you should have had the Slug sweating for another huge battle that President Obama will make them get engaged with.

Instead of waiting for some else to lead and
then as soon as they get started give them crap for leading.

For all the rancor against President Obama, he made Congress and the Senate work for a living.

TIME to mix the pot again President Obama.

Make Congress and the Senate do their JOBS PROPERLY

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | March 30, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't that form of therapy included in the government run healthcare plan, but you have to get approved by the IRS review board first?

Posted by: Champions | March 30, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

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