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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Linkee-poo is back on the train, oh, back on the chain gang

NPR's list of 100 favorite comics and graphic novels. I'm glad to say, I actually have read some of these, know of many more (although I have to admit here that the manga visual style has always left me cold), and recently a friend sent me a copy of one (hat tip to Sheila).

About that photo showing Emilia Earhart after her disappearance. Yeah, not so much.

The LarsenC Ice Shelf iceberg has calved. Often not mentioned in the news about this, LarsenA and LarsenB have already collapsed. LarsenC has been holding back some fast flowing glaciers from the interior. Will what's left of the shelf be able to hold them back now is the question.

"The new treatment is known as CAR-T cell immunotherapy. It works by removing key immune system cells known as T cells from the patient so scientists can genetically modify them to seek out and attack only cancer cells. That's why some scientists refer to this as a 'living drug.'" And it just passed the FDA Advisory Committee and is now up for full approval. Right now it's just up for treating B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but if approved I'm sure there will be other cancers treated (off-label use). However, it costs about $0.5 million per treatment, so don't expect your insurance company to pre-approve it anytime soon (right now they're talking about using it when the standard treatments don't work). Fuck cancer.

"Some health plans are beginning to offer free maintenance care for people with chronic health problems, hoping that spending a little more early on will save a lot money in the long run… That may seem like common sense, but health plans have been running hard in the opposite direction. Consumers are on the hook for a rapidly increasing amount of their health costs — in large part to try to curb health costs." Single-payor. Now, it's not going to help with everybody because humans are stubborn and we have built-in psychological reflexes to ignore health problems. I see it all the time at the hospital ("So, why are you here?" "I have some chest pain." "How long have you been having chest pain." "About a month." - ugh). I'm sure you've all known someone with tooth pain who try to just "rough it out." But maybe, just maybe, if people learn that getting help when you need it won't actually cost you anything extra, in a generation or two we might be able to change those behaviors. Also I'll say this from experience, managing your diabetes (Type I or Type II) is a hellalot easier than having your foot amputated. I've seen too much of that as well. Gangrene and necrotic tissue are the worst smells ever. And once they start taking parts of you off, chances are they'll have to do it again and again.

"Republicans are trying to find a way to defund Planned Parenthood as part of an overall effort to limit abortion in America. But doing so had the opposite effect in Texas, according to a new study based on research from Texas A&M University… The study… shows that in the first three years after Texas Republicans slashed the family planning budget in 2011 and shut down more than 80 women’s health clinics, the abortion rate among teenagers in the state rose 3 percent over what it would have been had the clinics remained open." Again, real world studies show conservative ideology doesn't work. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

"The FDA estimates that about 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors annually in the U.S." And that's just the errors outside a doctor's office or medical facility. Pay attention. Know your medications and if you don't know what they do or how they'll affect you (more than "you have this, take this" - know how the drug works, what it's doing to you), ask the doctor or the pharmacist. Every time I get an Rx I have to sign that I don't have any questions (I typically have already asked or researched). There's a reason they make you sign (trust me, if it weren't necessary, they wouldn't bother). If you're in a doctor's office or the hospital and someone gives you something or is about to inject something into your IV and they don't tell you what it is, ask before you take it or they inject it. For home use I highly recommend those weekly pillboxes for medications you take every day. If you're on an hourly schedule for things like pain medications, I suggest a schedule with checkboxes.

Microsoft takes the first step to "listen to those forgotten Americans" Trump supposedly spoke for. They're going to "work" on completing the last miles of broadband access. Now, as someone who lives in those hinterlands (well, now at least I have DSL, as my cable TV line is too noisy to have a cable modem, but from what I hear, I'm not missing much given our dinky telecom/ISP) I fully applaud this. But it's not the first time I've heard of this plan. The problem here (and what will take this initiative down) is the cost and reluctance of local telecoms to provide the backend T1 lines. Cause while using whitespace channels (a late 90s technology IIRC) is great for download speeds (typically there's a wired upstream part of this, although some later WLAN technologies provided 2 way communications - also this is a relative term, think somewhere between ADSL and slow cable modems, see HugesNet for examples), eventually you have to have a wire on the backend. Three initiatives I tried all failed when it came to getting the local telecom to provide that connection (first tried their "monopoly rights", which they haven't any, and then charged egregious prices for a crappy 3rd tier connection - well something more like 4th or 5th, but most categories don't go down that far). Also, they aren't the first in this space. Sprint was back in 2003.

"Some small-business owners burdened with high health care costs would get a break via an obscure provision in the health bill proposed by the GOP Senate. The provision would offer less regulation, more bargaining power and better prices." Those better prices are because 1) they think they have a younger and healthier population working in small businesses (note to general public, not the case) and 2) basically they can offer shit coverage and high deductibles. So while it looks like a win, it isn't. FYI, I'm now in one of these plans offered by the Council of Smaller Enterprises in Cleveland. There isn't one of us here that will see their 30s again (okay, maybe the boss' son when he comes in to work). We work for a lot of small businesses who have similar demographics. This is just an attempt to divide and conquer.

"'We’re not seeing any evidence of a death spiral or a market collapse,' said Cynthia Cox, Kaiser’s associate director of health reform and private insurance. 'Rather, what it looks like is insurers are on track to have their best year since the [Affordable Care Act] began.'" Despite the drum the conservatives are beating, Obamacare is doing well (especially in states that expanded Medicaid). (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Aramis Ayala, Florida's first and only black elected state attorney, has been no stranger to controversy since taking office as head of the 9th Judicial District, which covers Orange and Osceola counties… Now, Ayala is back in the spotlight after footage surfaced of Orlando Police pulling her over in a June 19 traffic stop. It lasts little more than a minute after two officers find out who she is, prompting some social media users to suggest racial bias was at play. Ayala and Orlando Police characterized the stop as lawful." She was driving home after teaching a law class.

"The word of the day today comes to us courtesy of Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. The word is: MAGAnomics." Funny, rhymes with Reaganomics, and is about as sound. The two words I keep hearing from economists discussing President Trump's economic plan is "overly optimistic."

Can Jr be charged with treason? Well, no. Treason, legally, is a high bar to jump over. However, accepting something of value from a foreign power to aid a campaign is illegal, and a lot easier to prove (note, doesn't have to actually receive, his email and pretext for meeting might be considered solicitation though).

Steve King says Congress will reinvestigate Clinton unless Democrats give up this Russia thing. Isn't this what the corrupt sheriff says in the movies? This is the move of petty thugs when they're caught. Seriously, Rep. King, by all means, reopen the investigations that have already concluded that there's nothing there in the Clinton Email Scandal. Tie that albatross around the GOPs neck. I triple dog dare you. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

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