A team of scientists from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory have published the results of an experiment designed to measure the impact of last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan. The report shows highly contaminated water making its way across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast in as little as five years.
When ten years have gone by, the Pacific could have twice the radiation it did before the meltdown at Fukushima following the 2011 tsunami.
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed by the House and Senate then signed in to law by President Obama in 2009. For three years we’ve had pundits whine about in the media, and after the 2010 election, the House of Representatives has tried to repeal it 30 times. All 30 times have led to absolutely nothing. The Senate won’t even vote on it, and even if it passed the Senate, a law repealing the Affordable Care Act would be vetoed by President Obama. Even the Supreme Court has ruled in its favor.
Now they’re planning to try again.
So what do 31 exercises in futility get you? 31 reminders that to pass a law you also need support in the Senate and White House.
I don’t know how it is at your job, but if I tried to do something that was literally impossible 31 times while using company resources, I would be fired. I doubt I would even really argue. After all, how do you justify wasting time and money that isn’t yours to waste on such a huge scale? How do you ignore the fact that trying the impossible 31 times meant ignoring your actual responsibilities 31 times?
Is it any wonder that Congress has a 17% approval rating?
I understand not supporting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but unless things change in November, it’s not going anywhere. Why not work to change and improve the law instead of wasting taxpayer money and time on 31 symbolic gestures?
It’s weird doing two posts about pharmaceuticals in the same month, much less the same day, but here goes…
Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin (oxycodone), is seeking FDA approval to The change would allow the highly profitable (thanks in part to Florida ‘pill mills’) painkiller for use by children as young as 6 and would let Purdue Pharma to extend their patent on the drug.
Right now, studies show that 2% of eight graders in the U.S. use OxyContin recreationally, and that number goes up to 5% when you look at high school seniors. Can you imagine children putting themselves on the path to become hardcore junkies in the 8th grade? There have been almost 110,000 deaths caused by prescription opioids, and Purdue Pharma want to start giving them to children in order to keep their patent. I don’t know about you, but I would give a kid violent video games, junk food, pot and liquor before I’d let them anywhere near OxyContin.
Read more at:
In what is the largest fraud settlement in U.S. history, GlaxoSmithKline will pay $1 billion to settle criminal wrongdoing and $2 billion to cover civil liabilities, and they will plead guilty to two counts of introducing misbranded drugs in to interstate commerce (Paxil and Wellbutrin). According to the government, the drugs were marketed as treatments for conditions for which they hadn’t been approved. They also face a third count for failing to provide safety information to the FDA about the diabetes drug Avandia. As part of a 5 year compliance agreement with the government, executives face losing their bonuses if they or their subordinates engage in misconduct.
So there you have it. In America, poisoning people and lying to regulatory agencies only costs you a fine and not even a big enough fine to do real damage. I’m sure GlaxoSmithKline will be passing the cost on to the customers they lied to and poisoned by raising prices, and as of 12:00 PM PST, GlaxoSmithKline stocks were up 1.69%. That tells me the choices they made were calculated risks that put profits ahead of the health of safety of the public. Oh, it also gets you a stern warning about bonuses.
About three months ago there was lots of noise about the Supreme Court hearing a case that would determine whether or not the Affordable Care Act was legal under the U.S. Constitution. The law was challenged over the individual mandate, a part of the law that forces everyone to be covered by health insurance or face a financial penalty. The federal government made an argument and a backup argument for the constitutionality of the law. The main argument was that the law as legal under the Commerce Clause. The backup was that creating a tax was well within the powers of Congress. At the time, things didn’t look good for supporters of the Affordable Care Act. Several Justices seems openly hostile right from the start, and Paul Clement did a superb job arguing against the ACA.
In the end, the court rejected the main argument, but the backup argument made the difference. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan agreed that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional because the penalty for not having insurance is a tax, and Congress has the right to create a tax to create new taxes. As such, the Affordable Care Act lives on.
Whether you support the Affordable Care Act or not, you can expect lots of sensationalism and contrived outrage on the cable news channels for at least the next few days.
After hearing the news about Mad Cow disease being found in my home state of California, I decided to try to do something to stop the disease in its tracks before it became a serious problem. Given my limited resources, I thought starting with a petition and a blog post would be a good start. Please sign my petition at Change.org.
Mad Cow disease comes from feeding the remains of dead cattle to living cattle as food. Unfortunately, much of our cattle is fed a meat and bone meal made from the remains of other cattle. You see, cows are vegetarians by nature. They’ve been herbivores for as long as they’ve existed. We know that feeding beef products to cows is the cause of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, more commonly known as Mad Cow disease. If we ban this practice by requiring that all cattle is fed a 100% vegetarian diet, we should be able to greatly reduce and maybe even eliminate instances of mad cow disease.
Mad Cow disease can be transmitted to humans who eat beef products from infected livestock, causing a variety of neurological symptoms and, eventually, dementia. Given how much beef Americans consume, a requirement for all cattle to be fed 100% vegetarian diets is long overdue.
I humbly request that all of you take 30 seconds out of your day to sign my petition. Link provided below.
Can we please stop pretending teaching abstinence instead of actual sexual education is good for anyone?
A study by the CDC has shown that the overall rate of teen pregnancies in the U.S. is decreasing. It also revealed a pretty disturbing trend: rates of teen pregnancy are highest in the religious, conservative states we call the Bible Belt. These are also the states that tend to push abstinence education instead of actual SexEd. That should be a wake up call to parents everywhere: denying reality doesn’t make it go away. The teenage brain is a mess of hormones. When you teach abstinence instead of safe sex, the only thing (most) teens abstain from is the safe part. By not teaching your kids about safe sex, or at least allowing their school to do so, you are not only increasing the chances of unintended pregnancy but of serious illness as well. That’s on you for keeping your child ignorant instead of preparing them for the world.
People are going to do what they’re going to do. If you care about them, the best thing you can do is encourage safety and good judgment by providing them with all the facts.
Image source and article: U.S. Teen Birthrates Are Down, But Still High in These States – The Atlantic Cities
Today is World AIDS Day, as is every December 1. Like so many of you, I have lost friends and acquaintances to this devastating illness. It’s hard to believe that in 30 years it’s managed to kill 30 million people. You read that right. 30 million. Even here in the U.S. there are 40,000 new HIV and AIDS diagnoses every year. Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS prevention programs all over the world are dealing with cutbacks because of the global economic downturn. In response to the AIDS epidemic, President Obama pledged a much needed $50 million today for domestic AIDS treatment and clinics.
If you are going to have sex (and you almost certainly are), use protection. You think condoms are expensive? It’s nothing in comparison to treatment and prescriptions you’ll be paying for if you contract HIV. If you’re an IV drug user, I’m not asking you to get clean. You’ll do that on your own if and when you’re ready. All I ask is that you use clean needles. It’s not just yourselves you put at risk. Every time you risk infection through reckless behavior you’re also risking that your mother and father lose a child, that your sisters and brothers lose a sibling, that your child will lose a parent, that there will be an empty chair at your best friend’s next birthday party and countless other losses that are so easily preventable with a little good decision making.
To those of you who suffer from HIV or AIDS or know someone who is: stay strong. There is a whole world of people supporting you. We are closer to a cure than we ever have been.
HIV and AIDS aren’t specific to any one race, gender or sexual orientation. Anyone can contract HIV. Please take a moment to give today. Even if it’s just $5, you’re putting us all $5 closer to a world where HIV and AIDS are just things we read about in history books.