GAH!  6:56 pm March 15, 2011

Surgeon General: ‘Appropriate’ To Buy Radiation Pills, If You Can Find Any

by Ken Layne

'Out of stock.'So, this is going badly: “Fire breaks out again at Fukushima’s No. 4 reactor.” That’s a new fire. And U.S. surgeon general Regina Benjamin is in the San Francisco Bay Area, telling the teevee news cameras that it’s maybe a good idea to get those Potassium Iodide tablets … which are sold out everywhere. “Oh it’s definitely appropriate,” she says when asked if it’s wise to stock up on the thyroid-protecting tablets. “We have to be prepared.”

Related video

Hola wonkerados.

To improve site performance, we did a thing. It could be up to three minutes before your comment appears. DON'T KEEP RETRYING, OKAY?

Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.


Lascauxcaveman March 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Unless she's going to wear the sailor suit (like C. Everett Koop), why should I believe a word she says?

Bonzos_Bed_Time March 15, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Sounds like a Mother-boy event in the making.

Crank_Tango March 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

but not the heavy metal band.

Mahousu March 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm

It's true, a Sailor Moon suit would be "appropriate." (And a bit repulsive, but let's not dwell on that.)

V572625694 March 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I miss ol' Krazy Koop. No meltdowns on his watch!

Radioactive March 15, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Ken, I would read past "READ MORE," but I'm off to CVS to hoard me up some Radioactive protection, if you know what I mean.

PocketsTheClown March 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

But it's St. Patrick's Day in two days! I don't want to party in some lead cave.

Extemporanus March 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I'd recommend hiding in a pot o' gold, but the abnormally high rate of birth defects in the leprechaun community leads me to believe that they may not provide adequate protection against harmful levels of radiation.

Radioactive March 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Tamiflu® during the H1N1 hype.
Glocks® after Tucson.

Gopherit March 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

We have quite the record for stupid, don't we? Also, I can't stress this enough: 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11, and 9/11.

Radioactive March 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Right, 911, the ultimate overredaction,
The thing about all these examples is that each of them has little, if any, positive effect. Mostly they cost us big time in the end.

Sue4466 March 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Don't forget duct tape and plastic wrap.

PocketsTheClown March 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm

That one was a hit in Miami, everyone carrying all duct tape in their purses "just in case!"

GhostBuggy March 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Jesus Christ, that duct tape thing pissed me off. My mother-in-law, the sweetest woman in the world who volunteers at zoos and museums, came over with a bundle of that stuff because she was scared by our idiotic media fear-mongering. We took it to be polite, but reminded her that we would probably suffocate if we cut the house off to air, just to put in her brain that she shouldn't do it, either.

Bless her, and fuck the 24-hour news cycle.

JoeBiteme March 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm

The realtor handling rentals of our house in Flagstaff referred to her new pistol as a "Loughner Model". #FACEPALM

Gopherit March 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm

sounds like a ready made marketing campaign for glock. only in Arizona.

starfanglednut March 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm


JoeBiteme March 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm

For the first time in years I literally didn't know what to say. All I could muster was, “She's a good friend of ours, it's a tragic situation” to which she responded “well, yeah”. FML

kissawookiee March 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm

That knocked the snark clean outta me. I think would still be standing there, weeks later, jaw on floor, saying WHAAAAAAA….?


OkieDokieDog March 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Oh daymn! I knew I should have bought stock in duct tape and plastic sheeting!

Gopherit March 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Does anyone have any iodine infused vodka?

GuyClinch March 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I do now!

Radioactive March 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Isn't Hendrick's gin infused with cucumber and iodine?

PocketsTheClown March 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I'll get back to you on that one. Which makes me think… why don't they put Ibuprofen in Hendrick's gin?

Worthly[♬♪♬♪♫♪♬]Skum March 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Nuclear scientist on Rachel Maddow just said I tabs a waste of time, since primary avenue for human absorbtion is via cow's milk. Will post link if can figure out how to do it.

Worthly[♬♪♬♪♫♪♬]Skum March 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Found a transcript. Scroll down to interview w/ David Brenner (not the comedian):

MADDOW: In terms of the broader population, and thinking about what might be a manageable amount of radioactive exposure—I realize it is a fluid situation. We don‘t yet know how much radiation is going to be released into the atmosphere. But one of the things that has been discussed is the distribution of iodine tablets to try protect people from thyroid cancer.

Why is that important? And how important is that?
Advertise | AdChoices

BRENNER: Well, in my view, it‘s not important at all. It‘s not actually the appropriate way to deal with the issue of iodine-131. The way iodine gets—radioactive iodine gets into the body is a crowd of iodine falls to the ground. Cows eat grass which has got that radioactive iodine in it. The milk that they produce has radioactive iodine in it, and we drink the milk.

So, the simple way to avoid the iodine problem is simply not to drink the milk and that works. It doesn‘t work with all the other radio isotopes. For the special case of iodine, simply don‘t drink the milk.

MADDOW: So, that‘s—that‘s not like you‘re using cows and milk production as an example of one way in which all different ways you can be contaminated. That‘s the specific route?

BRENNER: It‘s the specific route of iodine. Yes.


BRENNER: So, iodine pills, they‘re not going to do harm, but they‘re not really going to do any good either. The real way is to stop people drinking the milk.

UW8316154 March 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm

What about giving the iodine tablets to the cows?

gef05 March 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Ooo. I bet you got an A+ in lateral thinking class.

Ken Layne March 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Yeah right, like Real Americans eat grass-fed cattle on pasture.

/American anusburgers are from feedlots.

undeterredbyreality March 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

So, you're saying he is the comedian?

ifthethunderdontgetya March 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I don't think he's suggesting that we get the iodine radiation poisoning through the beef cattle —> anusburger route, Ken.

P.S. Congrats on the 102 pee points. You're catching up to me, you monster!

Gopherit March 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm

That's why we have to get to the dairy cows now before they are contaminated? Won't someone think of the children? (sally struthers imagery intentional)

mumbly_[redacted] March 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

So you're saying I *don't* need to go vegan? Oh thank God.

Redhead March 16, 2011 at 8:37 am

He's OBVIOUSLY a Peta plant.

OneYieldRegular March 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm

You might try looking up the some of the lists put out in Europe after Chernobyl (I'm too busy wolfing down handfuls of sea salt to do it myself at the moment); anyway, lots of things like: "avoid dairy products and mushrooms and reindeer meat, wash vegetables a gazillion times, wipe down all surfaces before putting any food on them, don't ingest ANYthing that came from the other side of the Alps," etc.

Worthly[♬♪♬♪♫♪♬]Skum March 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I realize now I'm on a fool's errand. Given two possible approaches to a problem, real Americans will always take the one that involves more eating.

GuyClinch March 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I just laughed so hard I had hamburger coming out of my nose

PocketsTheClown March 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm


Bonzos_Bed_Time March 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

But she's not mentioning plastic tarps and duct tape. Why does she want the terrorists to win?

Jim89048 March 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

They picked a helluva bad time to scrap the color-coded threat levels, also.

KenLayIsAlive March 15, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Scott Walker just gave an announcement saying that the best protection is to coat your house with Georgia-Pacific toilet paper and dixie cups. Hmmm…

finallyhappy March 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I remember the idiot in Kensington , Md who used tarps and tape and created a room that would ahve suffocated here.

Troubledog March 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

It's obviously because the job killing Obama administration has regulated and taxed the iodide industry into oblivion.


Weenus299 March 15, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Super! Where can I get said pills? Can the government hook me up?

imissopus March 15, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I for one welcome our new giant irradiated nine-armed overlords.

Rambone March 15, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I can get the same benefit by eating a couple pounds of iodized salt every day, right?

Fuck it, no time to think . . . Gonna get myself a funnel and the Costco-sized sack of Morton salt, lickety-split.

nounverb911 March 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Oh yes, lets trust Morton, have they figured out how to make O-rings yet?

Barbara_i March 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I'm in!

Schmannnity March 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I yearn for the simpler days when Surgeons General discouraged smoking and encouraged masturbation.

Sue4466 March 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I, for one, am just so glad to know nuclear power has no downsides.

Lionel[redacted]Esq March 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Strangely enough, Sharia Law states that you become a Muslim as soon as you take Potassium Iodine.

genxr March 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I am so tweeting that with the tag #tcot in the event of a nuclear emergency.

undeterredbyreality March 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I'm thinkin' that law would bring in more converts if it said you had to become a Muslin before you could take Potassium Iodine. What fun watching the Teatards making their decision: Die horribly or abandon Jeebus?

doloras March 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm

The thing is that it's very easy to become a Muslin. All you have to do is say "ašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾilla (A)llāh, wa ʾašhadu ʾanna Muḥammada(n) rasūlu (A)llāh" (three times fast, if you're so inclined). Nothing says you can't take it back later and re-accept Jeebus into your heart.

Bonzos_Bed_Time March 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Fingers were crossed, just kidding.

undeterredbyreality March 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejui–uh oh!

Blendergoathead March 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Wonder if I could get some of those fancy tablets in exchange for all the Krugerrands I stockpiled for Y2K.

nounverb911 March 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

You can get them at "Beck's R US"

gef05 March 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

As much as I love cows – they are silly and gentle creatures – I do enjoy them cooked until they are just a little pink, with a dash of salt and hot mustard to finish.

So yes. Yes, I'm in.

The_Great_Gazoo March 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Frankly, in the event of such a crisis, I would rather have spent my money on liquor.

genxr March 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

In your professional opinion, doctor, would you say it's time to crack open our neighbors' skulls and feast on the goo inside?

gef05 March 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Is wearing a condom an alternative?

The_Great_Gazoo March 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Well, at least your dick might be protected. And that's very important.

GuyClinch March 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Good heavens, don't do that. Strontium-190 is the only sure-fire male enhancement!

Extemporanus March 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Good news, everyone!

UR-486 (aka "The Day After" pill) is available without a prescription in the lower left-hand cabinet of your doctor's examining room, right next to the cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol.

XOhioan March 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I thought I was the only one who has swiped medical supplies out of the examining room. Only once, honest–tape to hold my surgical drain.

GuyClinch March 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm

"Surgical drain." Have two lovelier words ever been strung together?

XOhioan March 16, 2011 at 12:23 am

Even lovelier to look at. Do a Google image search on "Jackson-Pratt drain" and pretend what you see is just strawberry Jello.

Salam Bombay March 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm

When I moved to the socialist hell hole of Switzerland (they have socialist health care), I got a packet of potassium iodide tablets along with my work permit from the local municipality. But like an idiot, I lost the packet when I moved from Switzerland to the other communist hell hole – Holland.

BaldarTFlagass March 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

You're lucky you got out of there before it became the northwestern frontier of the European Caliphate (assuming you are not still in Holland).

Crank_Tango March 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm

what did you get when you moved to holland? anything gouda?

I have a buddy that recently made the opposite move…

XOhioan March 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

For fuck sakes, dumb sailor-suit lady–people who are getting medical treatment need this. Not cable news thumbsuckers, who are exactly the type of people who will buy out all the potassium iodide on the market.

outragedcitizen March 16, 2011 at 8:25 am

Right now, I see the Koch brothers trying to control the Potassium Iodine market.

UW8316154 March 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I'm in Seattle and will be one of the first in the country to get a radiation shower. Should I just go to California, lay out in the sun and drink martinis? If I'm going to be subject to radiation coming down from the skies, I'd rather be dry and warm than wet and cold when it happens. And drunk. Very drunk.

Crank_Tango March 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm

well i don't see any sun here in norcal, so wet and cold it is, but also pretty stoned, so there's that.

Bonzos_Bed_Time March 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

We have plenty of yummy alcohol awaiting you, my sodden brother/sister.

harry_palmer March 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm

So isn't the scientist on Maddow basically asking, should we all take iodine pills, or should we just accept our fate and everybody get naked and fuck? That's what I'm hearing.

OneYieldRegular March 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Is she serious? Speaking her mind like that? I mean, how long until she joins P. J. Crowley in the unemployment line?

Ken Layne March 15, 2011 at 7:31 pm

That blog looks sketchier than Wonkette!

Go to WebMD or somesuch if you are concerned or considering taking these pills. But they will not do you any good if there's no, uh, radioactive iodide radiation stuff radiating on you!

Ms Nippon Quasimodo March 20, 2011 at 3:04 am also too

edgydrifter March 15, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I heard autoerotic asphyxiation is sure-fire protection against radiation poisoning. You catch that, concern trolls? Break out the extension cords and get cranking. Oh, don't worry, I'll keep an eye on those pills you're hoarding.

UW8316154 March 15, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Oh jesus christ this is not going well. It exploded again and the entire fucking thing is on fire.

UW8316154 March 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm

FLASH: TEPCO says it is considering dispersing boric acid over Daiichi No.4 plant from a helicopter.

At this point, I think the most constructive thing I can do to help the world right now is go out and have a couple drunk random hookups. Anyone with me?

HistoriCat March 16, 2011 at 1:07 am

Boric acid won't put out that fire but it will stop the cockroaches from getting in. The Japanese are just trying to save the world from giant mutant cockroaches now.

mumbly_[redacted] March 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Note also, if with considerable irony, that dried nori and other seaweed products are also a good source of uncontaminated iodine, in a pinch.

Probably way cheaper, also, too, also.

mumbly_[redacted] March 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Umm, Dear Mister Downfister. By Downfisting my Important Public Service Advisory about the utility of dried seaweed as a source of uncontaminated Iodine in case of radiological emergency, you are COSTING HUMAN LIVES. (::removes eyeglasses::)

Downfist me all you want, SIR (::puts on eyeglasses::) but their blood is on your hands, SIR (::removes eyeglasses::).

Radioactive March 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Who is downfisting on this thread? A Radiation Oncologist? Jeez.
How petty can you get?

Mumbletypeg March 16, 2011 at 8:35 pm

This little soliloquy brought tears to my eyes from laughing
*(removes glasses, dabs at eyes with hankie)

Bonzos_Bed_Time March 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Just had me an elitist California roll 30 minutes ago!

Infused with iodine for her pleasure.

mumbly_[redacted] March 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I regret that I have but one heart to give.

V572625694 March 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm

That's what Lipitor, Tri-Cor and fish oil are for!

EdFlintstone March 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I hope these pills are available in Ohio.

Radioactive March 15, 2011 at 8:44 pm

They're right next to the surfboards, Ed.

The_Great_Gazoo March 16, 2011 at 12:08 am

Has Ohio's status as a non-Japan-earthquake-impact zone been downgraded? Are we in the no-fly zone?

Negropolis March 16, 2011 at 1:19 am

Might be a good idea if you live in or near Cleveland. Hell, you have to get shots before you can go to Cleveland.

Mahousu March 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm

These are still available:

A little heavy for everyday wear, but …

Radioactive March 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Lead lined French Freedom ticklers.

PocketsTheClown March 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I'll take cheeseburger duty. Let's go save some lives!

Come here a minute March 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm


AntonovBureau March 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Big Up to Big Pharma!

I was wondering when the next 'Swine' Flu would be invented. I thought it would be Goat Flu or Camel Flu, but I never thought it would be Nookleear Flu

DownFist Troll March 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I live on the east coast. Should i bother panicking? Or should i just jump straight into getting drunk?

AKHottie March 16, 2011 at 4:52 am

I recommend getting drunk. Cuz I need tips.

fuflans March 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I will be very pissed if the world does end in may. Not so much because the world ends but because the wingnuts will just NEVER shut up.

mayor_quimby March 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Don't we have some sort of 'Superman' for this sort of thing? I would think with all the warfightin' money we've spent in the last 10 years, surely we could have built one by now and sent him over there to blow icy-breath on the reactors. Shit, what are we paying you for anyway, DARPA. Think outside the box of, because that box is filled with awfulness.

PublicLuxury March 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Waiting for Superman

PresBeeblebrox March 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Sorry, no dice. Doctor Manhattan is in the Andromeda Galaxy or somewhere like that.

PublicLuxury March 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Oh, Son of a bitch. Here we go. This is a liberal media conspiracy against Michele Bachmann

philpjfry March 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Blood libal

jonzin March 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Everyone just leave California and settle in west Texas. There is plenty of room and maybe that would make Texas a little less scary. Of course they could also throw you in prison and execute you for no real reason. Maybe it's best to stay in California and deal with the fallout.

TanzbodenKoenig March 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Good thing i bought that lead lined tracksuit the other day

pollosmoky March 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Not to mention the Capitol Police telling people to "run for their lives" during the evacuation caused by a stray plane in D.C. airspace.

deanbooth March 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Good news from Larry Kudlow: Thyroid futures are way up!

marinmaven March 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Are the Japanese panicking? No. They are being reasonable, orderly, helpful, and incredibly noble — and they are at ground zero folks. Americans are thousands of miles away across the Pacific Ocean freaking like it is happening to them. Maybe instead of hoarding Potassium Iodide tablets, we should…i don't know… make sure our Japanese friends get them in the next relief shipment.

Guppy06 March 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm

People, health care is a contentious enough issue in this country as it is. Do you really think America could handle having a Surgeon General that actually knows what they're doing?

Negropolis March 16, 2011 at 1:20 am

So, Pfizer is running low on cash, eh?

AKHottie March 16, 2011 at 4:47 am

HaH I bot the pillz after 9/11 [drink]. Finally paying off! Restore my shrinking IRA fund [drink]. Must clear tables now and say g'nite.

Negropolis March 16, 2011 at 6:48 am

Wait, you have a fund courtesy the Irish Republican Army?!

AKHottie March 16, 2011 at 4:55 am

Flu shots. We all need flu shots. For pig flu. Everyone. Get them now. Or die. Or maybe bird death. Pig death or human death or bird death. You decide. ZOMG WE WILL DIE !!11!l98!!

cheaphits March 16, 2011 at 8:29 am

Carrie Nation?

MinAgain March 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Boy, I really lucked out. I had thyroid cancer in 1993, so my thyroid is already gone.

philpjfry March 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I am allergic to iodine…….I guess I'm fucked

NYNYNY March 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I think, it's like a metaphor. Like he's trying to say something more important than just about radiation, but it's like, that you know, everything comes from everything else.

Negropolis March 16, 2011 at 1:07 am

Most milk cows are fed and milked indoors for most of their lives, anyway, so it doesn't matter which type of cows we're talking about.

Negropolis March 16, 2011 at 1:09 am


not that Dewey March 16, 2011 at 10:22 am

Milk them over there so they don't milk us over here?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: