What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Linkee-poo is going to take a long weekend

To say this year has been draining is to make a colossal understatement.

"This week, NOAA announced that this year's dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey. And it's adding fuel to a debate over whether state and federal governments are doing enough to cut pollution that comes from farms." I'm sure it's fine, we're all fine, how are you? And this is why the Federal EPA is necessary.

"A legal motion the Department of Education filed yesterday could have big ramifications for half a million teachers, social workers, police officers and other public servants. The motion asserts that there has been no final decision on whether these people will have their student debt forgiven, as they had believed… Public Service Loan Forgiveness was created a decade ago… describe(d)… as a 'broad, employment-based forgiveness program for federal student loans.' Anyone who works for the government or a nonprofit can have their loans erased after 10 years of on-time monthly payments… that means the first group of borrowers should have their loans forgiven this fall." Or not. Foxes are in charge at the hen house, in this case people with vested interests in the private student loan industry are now running parts of the Department of Education.

"The U.S. economic recovery has gone on for eight long years, and the unemployment rate is at a low 4.4 percent. But wage gains have barely budged." Note, wages for middle and low income workers haven't really moved since the mid 80s (yes, they increased minimum wages in the 90s, but adjusted for inflation, they're lower now). Say, wasn't that the start of "trickle-down economics", "tax-breaks increase private sector money that will translate into jobs, jobs, jobs" and "lets get rid of the labor unions" movements? Why yes, I believe it was. I love how they barely touch on "rich people want all the money for themselves" and quickly throw up other excuses.

"Some courts offer participants a full range of evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment. Others don't allow addiction medications at all. And some permit just one: Vivitrol… One reason for this preference is that Alkermes, the drug's manufacturer, is doing something nearly unheard of for a pharmaceutical company: It is marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials."

"For years, anti-abortion advocates have used the claim that abortion is bad for women’s health to help justify restrictions on the procedure… Released on Tuesday, the report by the abortion rights legal advocacy group Center for Reproductive Rights and the research organization Ibis Reproductive Health found that states with more anti-abortion laws also tend to have poor outcomes generally for women’s and children’s health compared with states that have fewer restrictions." This is my shocked face. One again for the new people, the anti-abortion movement has nothing to do with health or babies, it's an attempt to roll back the sexual revolution and place women into a roll social conservatives feel is their proper status (often shorthanded to "pregnant and in the kitchen" although it's a little more complex). The health of the mother and the fetus are not their priority, it's just a selling point. (Grokked from Julie)

Mothers who almost died give advice for expectant mothers. "The pregnant woman should be taught warning signs and know when to speak up so that she can be treated as quickly and accurately as possible." Yes that (also important for most other major medical events, not just pregnancy). Some of this is "not wanting to panic the patient", but a lot of it is not wanting to take the time with a patient and our cultural superstitions about "speaking evil" as well as the tendency of people to think since they know something, everybody knows it.

Brid forbid we use the military as a "social experiment", but let some new half-brained telemedicine idea pop up and that's the savior of the VA. Telemedicine can be great for some applications, but it's limited in its ability to do actual work. Of course, if it's the only thing available… well they've been walking people through tracheotomies for decades now. Just wait until they roll out the first fully robotic/telepresence surgical suite. At the hospital I work at we have 2 telepresence units for psychological exams. We also use ZocDoc to help with scheduling (I've tried it, not going to use it again).

"Scientists in the U.S. have released a paper showing that they have successfully edited human embryos to correct a mutation that causes an inheritable heart condition. The findings are hugely important as they demonstrate for the first time that the technology may one day be used safely to edit out many devastating diseases." Repeat after me, CRISPR is not as precise as the media is telling you. It is more targeted than previous methodologies, but then a rain shower is more targeted than a tsunami.

"Rising carbon dioxide levels could have an unexpected side effect on food crops: a decrease in key nutrients. And this could put more people at risk of malnutrition." So, a while ago scientists studied how a forest responded to higher CO2 content in the atmosphere in an attempt to see if reforestation could help sequester CO2. The trees loved the increased CO2, for the first few years their growth skyrocketed… and then leveled off. The lumber from the trees were found to be substandard and their leaves didn't sequester the CO2. So, yes, plants love more CO2, but that isn't good for us. Again, the question isn't if the Earth will survive a warmer climate, it's if humans can survive in a warmer climate.

AG Jeff Sessions is pushing ahead on his progrom to cut federal assistance to so called sanctuary cities. Let the lawsuits begin. Well, that's one way to air the dirty laundry of the government's immigration policies. Also, I love how conservatives have flopped from wanting "local control" of immigration to "yeah, it's the federalies' job."

"Two phone calls described by President Donald Trump that didn’t actually happen represent the latest chapter in a long-running series of disputes revolving around the president’s rocky relationship with facts… White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday found herself explaining that compliments Trump had described receiving in phone calls from the Mexican president and the Boy Scouts did happen — just not on the phone." The president is a liar. Although I now have an image in my head of the White House staffers holding their noses to change their voices and calling the President pretending to be other people. The worst thought of this is the president actually believes these things happened.

So what happens when you're a conservative, but you draw the line at enacting far-right wing nut agenda items? Even if you're the speaker of the legislature they'll try and force you out.

I'm so glad modern conservatism isn't about racism or isolationism because that would make the new initiative to limit immigration quite sinister.

I guess conservatives remembered they were still in charge of Congress, so I guess it's time to investigate the Clintons again.

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