Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Everything on the Internet is true


I probably wouldn't turn down those royalties, but to date I've never asked for or received any. And if any other members of my family have, it's news to me.

Therefore, the above claims seem to be a so-called urban myth.

Where did it get started?

Best guess is this item...

...published here:


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cincinnati "Character Cities" group hosts program t'row night in shadow of evangelist's resignation after abuse allegations

"Honored Guests" for tomorrow night's "Heroes of Character" event include Steve Raleigh (WCPO-TV meteorologist), Dr. O'dell Owens, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College), and Kim and Bonnie Nuxhall (source)

What does the screenshot above -- which advertises an awards event tomorrow evening arranged by the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky -- have to do with the screenshot below from the March 7, 2014 Washington Post?

Via Cult of Character, a January 9, 2006 In These Times cover story:
(Bill) Gothard, the 74-year-old, unmarried man at the head of the Oak-Brook, Illinois-based Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) – which brings in an estimated profit of at least $63 million annually – has been in the evangelism business since 1964.

...Although legally and fiscally independent, the CTI (Character Training Institute) is for all intents and purposes a “secular” front group for Gothard’s IBLP. In the last decade, the CTI has quietly gained entry into hundreds of elementary, middle and high schools, state and city offices, corporations, police departments and jails.

Though he never uses the term, Gothard’s ideology fits into the framework of the burgeoning “Christian Reconstructionist” movement, which aims to rebuild society according to biblical mandates. Within the Christian Reconstructionist worldview, modern-day chaos is directly attributable to the division of church and state and the consequent degradation of individual character.

...Each of the 49 Character Qualities in CTI’s secular materials have their exact counterpart in IBLP materials. In books like Gothard’s Power of Kingdom Living and The Sevenfold Power of First-Century Churches and Homes, they are typically referred to as “The Laws of the Kingdom.”

The IBLP’s “blue book,” formally titled The Power for True Success, is carried around by many of the IACC officials. It explains the imperative for learning the 49 character qualities this way: “Character reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, since He is the full personification of all good character qualities.” It continues, “understanding character explains why things happen to us, because all things work together for good to conform us to the character of Christ.”

This book is now in the hands of most of the 1,200-strong Cincinnati police force, courtesy of a life insurance salesman and CTI cheerleader named Mike Daly who, along with Phil Heimlich, helped turn Cincinnati into a City of Character.
That would be my brother Phil, a former high-profile Cincinnati elected official who in 1981, according to a Topeka, KS, newspaper, found Jesus in a Big Boy hamburger restaurant.

Via his September 2005 lecture to the International Association of Character Cities entitled -- yes -- Truthfulness in Politics, here's a quick clip of Phil asking if Bill Gothard is in the audience. (H/T to the Cincinnati Beacon.)

Today Cincinnati's WLWT posted this interview with Mary Russell, longtime Executive Director of the local Character Council. She explains the "49 character qualities," but doesn't say anything about the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Last week I e-mailed multiple inquiries to Ms. Russell and asked if she'd ever communicated with Bill Gothard or any other IBLP representatives.

She said no about Gothard. She didn't respond to the rest of the question.

Here are the recipients for tomorrow's awards ceremony:

Do they or the celebrity guests know about the IBLP and Gothard conections?

Does it matter?

I'll send out some inquiries and report the results.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Houston-area lifeguard training company dumps "Heimlich for drowning" protocol at Beehive State water parks

NASCO's Brian Cole "Heimlichs" a lifeguard trainee. (Photo via website of now-defunct Century Pools Management. Unrelated to NASCO, see Lifeguards Stranded With No Pay by Lori Aratani, Washington Post, September 19, 2008, about  U.S. Department of Labor investigation of Century Pools Management.

Via Lagoon lifeguards will no longer use Heimlich maneuver by Mark Saal, Standard Examiner, Ogden, Utah, May 8, 2014:
Beginning this year, lifeguards at Lagoon-A-Beach will not use the lower abdominal thrusts as a resuscitation method, after the State of Utah determined the technique didn’t meet required standards.
Late last year, the Utah Department of Health denied an application from the National Aquatic Safety Company to continue to train and certify lifeguards at two Utah parks — Lagoon-A-Beach, in Farmington, and Cowabunga Bay, in Draper.
After NASCO agreed to exclude abdominal thrust training for its Utah clients, the state again certified it.
Via public records, the correspondence is posted below -- click here to download.

Of related interest via my website:

Statements and reports by medical and water safety organizations regarding the use of the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts) to revive near-drowning victims.

"These so-called medical experts. Screw 'em," my compilation of media reports about NASCO training lifeguards to perform abdominal thrusts (aka "the Heimlich maneuver") to revive near-drowning victims.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as much as admits it's an animal rights group -- plus a couple of good questions reporters should ask

Via media reports last week, PCRM is posting this billboard in College Station, TX

As Sidebar readers know, for years I've been growling about the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) because of the group's perverse relationship with my father.

The deep-pockets, celebrity driven Washington, D.C. nonprofit has also been criticized for failing to disclose its agenda.

Per junk science debunker Joe "Dr. Joe" Schwarcz PhD, Director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society:
This organization identifies itself as a “Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting preventive medicine, especially better nutrition, and higher standards in research.” I disagree with that description. I consider PCRM to be a fanatical animal rights group with a clear cut agenda of promoting a vegan lifestyle and eliminating all animal experimentation.
I'll leave it to others to determine if PCRM has been playing "hide the agenda."

But in this quickie video posted on the group's YouTube site a few days ago, PCRM executive Colin Schwartz, pretty much echoes Dr. Joe's description (sans the "fanatical").

About 20 seconds in, he describes PCRM's mission as "increasing plant-based nutrition and ending the use of animals in research, training, and testing."

That sounds like an "animal rights group" to me.

Via PCRM's biography of Schwartz:
He is personally invested in the organization – the Physicians Committee’s work on plant-based nutrition helped Colin adopt a vegan diet.
Speaking of investing in a vegan diet, check out my recent item about what Schwartz's boss, the somewhat gaunt Neal Barnard MD, considers healthy eating.

PCRM founder/president Neal Barnard MD, who has devoted much of his career to ending the use of animals in medical research, recently told a Cincinnati reporter he considers my father to be "a role model." But my father used beagles to develop "the Heimlich" and a few years ago my father's Heimlich Institute donated $615,000 to fund cancer research using mice.

Dr. Barnard and his organization never respond to my inquiries, but if any reporters are reading this, next time you're doing a story about PCRM, why not ask if he considers his organization to be an animal rights group?

Here's another fair question to ask Dr. Barnard and crew.

Do they think any medical research using animal models -- for example, the development of the Heimlich maneuver -- has been beneficial?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Shill is Gone: NY book publicist's five-star shill reviews scrubbed from Amazon -- including for my father's memoir


As I reported last week, under the username Avid NY Reader, book publicist Lori Ames wrote me that she had posted 5-star Amazon reviews for her clients' books, including this one for my father's recent memoir.

Mary Osako (source)

Click here for a subsequent inquiry I sent to Amazon spokesperson Mary Osako which included links to eight five-star book reviews posted on Amazon by Avid NY Reader paired with information that identified the eight authors as clients of Ms. Ames.

My inquiry simply asked Ms. Osako if this was in compliance with Amazon policy.

I didn't get a reply, but since then the eight reviews have disappeared.

For example, here's what my father's book's review page looks like at this writing:

Click here for a pdf of Avid NY Reader's Amazon page from a few weeks ago that includes the now-MIA reviews.

If any reporters working the PR or book publishing beats are reading this, here's a story idea.

Per my previous item, four years ago I tagged an unrelated book publicist in Clearwater, FL, doing the same thing for my mother's memoir and 71 other client authors.

Is it just a coincidence that unrelated publicists for both of my parents' books happened to post shill reviews on Amazon or is this a common practice in the world of book publishing?

And are publicists offering glowing five-star Amazon reviews to clients as an incentive?