Archive for the 'General Politics' category

Congress is dissatisfied with NIH's spending priorities!

This passage appeared in a highly prestigious journal of science.

"Important elements in both Senate and the House are showing increasing dissatisfaction over Congress's decade-long honeymoon with medical research....critics are dissatisfied...with the NIH's procedures for supervising the use of money by its research grantees....NIH officials..argued, rather, that the most productive method in financing research is to pick good people with good projects and let them carry out their work without encumbering them...its growth has been phenomenal....[NIH director}: nor do we believe that most scientific groups in the country have an asking and a selling price for their product which is research activity...we get a realistic appraisal of what they need to do the job..the supervisory function properly belongs to the universities and other institutions where the research takes place....closing remarks of the report are:...Congress has been overzealous in appropriating money for health research".

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2 responses so far

On Compromising

Oct 03 2013 Published by under #FWDAOTI, Anger, General Politics

I thought a little graphic representation of the current Republican Congressional demands for Obama to "compromise" on his Affordable Care Act was in order.

compromising

[click to enlarge]

In 1993 the Clinton Administration tried mightily to provide universal health care coverage for all Americans. According to Wikipedia it:

required each US citizen and permanent resident alien to become enrolled in a qualified health plan and forbade their disenrollment until covered by another plan. It listed minimum coverages and maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses for each plan. It proposed the establishment of corporate "regional alliances" of health providers to be subject to a fee-for-service schedule. People below a certain set income level were to pay nothing. The act listed funding to be sent to the states for the administration of this plan, beginning at $13.5 billion in 1993 and reaching $38.3 billion in 2003.

The plan was not entirely lefty-liberal because it kept HMOs in business and in fact mandated employers to spend more money on them. Nevertheless, the plan failed and mightily.

The lefty-liberal position would be more akin to mandating everyone be covered but doing it through the single payer of the Federal government. Preferably with a lot of measures to cut out the profit margin and mandate a lot more efficiency. Remember that now. THAT is the starting point for the leftward position.

The right wing, you will recall, fought Medicare and Medicaid tooth and nail. The true right wing starting point* is that the Federal government should have no role in the health care of citizens whatever.

So even the Clinton attempt was a considerable compromise.

Along came Obama in 2008-2009 and he decided to take another run. Obviously, in the post-Clinton era, the landscape for what was possible to pass and how to pass it was not completely open. Since Obama came on board determined to change the politics of Washington and to seek consensus and compromise....his first offer was already compromised far to the rightward position.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act was introduced in Congress in October of 2009. It took until March 2010 for Obama to be able to sign the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) into law. In the mean time there was much jockeying, arguing and compromising in an attempt to get the right wing on board. It ended up with so many protections for the profit-based health care industry and so many potential uncrossable fee gaps for poor people that it is most assuredly a right-leaning compromise past the true middle of the full spectrum of the debate.

Now we come to the fall of 2013 and the Congressional Republicans temper tantrum over "compromise". The anti-government party has refused to pass any appropriations for the new Fiscal Year, thereby shutting down the government. Their supposed reason has been (over the past several years there have been 40+ futile attempts in the House to repeal the ACA) that they wish to "fix" Obamacare. Now they are making it clear that they have no intention of fixing it, they simply want to dismantle it entirely.

Their current talking point is that Obama refuses to "compromise".

Is it any wonder? They are not interested in "compromise" since we are already far past the middle point on this particular issue. The ACA is a step too far in their direction.

And now they have the chutzpah to demand further "compromise".

Please.
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*Yes, I realize the true right wing starting point is that health care should only be for the very wealthiest people, full stop. And that nobody is responsible for health care beyond the individual person and whatever rapacious corporate entity sees fit to provide them with it. Lets toss them a bone for this discussion.

22 responses so far

Fifty Years On

Aug 28 2013 Published by under General Politics

7 responses so far

No Return

Jun 27 2013 Published by under General Politics

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama look out of a doorway that slaves departed from on Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal on June 27, 2013. (REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama look out of a doorway that slaves departed from on Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal on June 27, 2013. (REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

via Washington Post article by David Nakamura

One response so far

Unfortunately I detest Cheerios

May 31 2013 Published by under #FWDAOTI, Anger, General Politics

Context, context and more context.

Commentary

Phil_J

I have no problem with interracial couples but I am tired of having it shoved in my face constantly. The same goes for the LGBT agenda and religion. I could care less who you marry, what your sexual preference or religion is, just stop constantly shoving it in our faces.

ahh, yes. the "shoving it in my face" objection. Beloved of the anti-gay bigots but I haven't heard this one about skin-tone or ethnic diversity since the 80s era of Benetton's "shocking" ads. So if we're going on a principle and all, what about those tired of the mainstream, traditional relationships being shoved in their faces? That's called an own-goal, o ye bigotrim. Try another ploy.

kinda quiet

It's not racist to want to preserve your own racial and cultural heritage. Whites and Europeans in general have their own racial and genetic heritage.

In Israel, it is against the law for Jews to intermarry with non-Jews. But nobody complains about that because they respect the right of the Jewish people to exist as a unique people. If Whites in America have a law such as this, there would be thousands of affidavits filed in Federal Court and special interests groups crying racism. This article is "cry wolf" sensationalism demonizing Whites for wanting to protect their own unique cultural and racial heritage. LaRaza, NAACP, ADL these are groups that are race-based and designed to protect their own heritage. But if Whites do this they will be publicly humiliated they will start to lose their jobs and some even be criminally prosecuted.

Right because there is absolutely nothing whatsoever unique about Israel and the treatment of Jewish folks around the world within the last couple of generations.

palbenson

If the commercial is to be about the cereal then why so much focus on who is in the commercial and not on the product its self. Bad choice by General Mills and its promotion team to use your product to promote an agenda other then the product. Not everyone is going to agree with what you do in a commercial, so stick with the product and not with trying to promote a personal agenda.

Amateur marketing geeeeenius weighs in! Take note oh Saatchi and Saatchi, you dilettantes!

asaymorning

You Don't go against nature you don't mix a tiger with a loin that's not right

With the benefit of the doubt for fumble fingers, I give you Ligers. Just like mixed-race kids are objectively cuter, the Liger is more badass than even a Tiger. Which kicks the shit out of a Lion anyway. So yeah....Ligers.

paradox28jon

Psh, that pairing is everywhere. Try merman and sandwoman to get my attention.

A merman is real, no matter what the cabal of denialists say. Not sure about sandwoman. I'm sure they will be happy together.

22 responses so far

Umbrellagate

May 17 2013 Published by under #FWDAOTI, General Politics

For me, last night brought awareness of a new low point in the dismal, embarrassing behavior of the rank and file of the Republican party in these fair Uuuuunited States. It was noticeably more depressing then usual because it was so tawdry and pathetic. No, not AP wire tapping. Not Benghazi.

I refer to umbrellagate.
First the idiot mouthbreathing knuckledraggers were delighting in the notion that Obama "had" to have someone else hold an umbrella over him. Complete with anecdata showing other Presidents holding their own umbrellas.

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/213787/ap-photographer-has-chronicled-several-presidents-umbrella-problems/

Of course, that was cherry picked bullshit and it is clear that Obama holds his own....and other Presidents (including St. Ronnie) find occasion to take a helping hand.

I concluded this morning that it is really rather remarkable, and a testament to basic American decency, that despite all their machinations the Republicans have not been able to produce the rampant, postapocalyptic movie fantasy USA that they seem to desire for some reason.

13 responses so far

The Obama Administration's 2013 National Drug Control Strategy

Apr 24 2013 Published by under General Politics, Public Health

The ONDCP has been twittering up a storm about the release of the latest National Drug Control Strategy document [ PDF ].

The website touts five bullet points:

  • Prevent drug use before it ever begins through education
  • Expand access to treatment for Americans struggling with addiction
  • Reform our criminal justice system
  • Support Americans in recovery

Whether you think the Obama ONDCP has changed quickly enough for your liking or not, there has clearly been a change in the rhetoric compared with past...all the way back to the Reagan ONDCP. Rhetoric such as this....

While law enforcement will always play a vital role in protecting our communities from drug-related crime and violence, we simply cannot incarcerate our way out of the drug problem. Put simply, an enforcement-centric “war on drugs” approach to drug policy is counterproductive, inefficient, and costly. At the other extreme, drug legalization also runs counter to a public health and safety approach to drug policy. The more Americans use drugs, the higher the health, safety, productivity, and criminal justice costs we all have to bear.

...differs very clearly from the prior ONDCP approaches. Even McCaffrey, as conversant as he was with the science*, still leaned heavily toward the punitive side.

Naturally, I am best pleased that they have a section entitled "The Science":

Throughout much of the last century, scientists studying drug abuse labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When science began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. Those views shaped society's responses to drug abuse, treating it as a moral failing rather than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punitive rather than preventative and therapeutic responses.

And I would say that we still labor under a great deal of resistance, even though the hard edges may have morphed. We hear people trying to parse "only psychological" addiction from "physiological" addiction...what is this if not more of the "moral failing" argument? We also have attempts to define some substances (and non-substance reinforcers) as being out of consideration for genuine addiction.....again, a similar discounting of the science related to addiction. If you grasp the fact that addictions are disruptions of reward pathways, and that there are a limited set of final-common-mechanisms for reward in the brain then it is no surprise that anything which trips the reward triggers has the potential to cause disruption.

Today, thanks to significant advances in neuroscience, our Nation's responses to drug abuse have begun to change. Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain have revolutionized our understanding of drug addiction, enabling us to respond more effectively to the problem.

Science demonstrates that addiction is a disease of the brain—a disease that can be prevented and treated, and from which people can recover.

Well yes...buuuuuut. Our ability to prevent and treat still has a long way to go. And this, I recognize fully, contributes to public misunderstanding. After all, if it is a disease, surely we must have very specific and mechanistically coherent treatments, right? We don't, for the most part, and so skepticism over the assertion of "a disease of the brain" will continue.

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*He was the first Drug Czar I heard address a scientific audience. He was impressive. They guy that came after him during the Bush administration was...not.

3 responses so far

9 measly bucks per hour

Feb 13 2013 Published by under General Politics

$9

40 hr week (thank you liberal progressive commie America haters....almost 100 years on and America is still not destroyed)

52 weeks per year (yes I know but those should be 2 weeks of paid vacation, dammit)

$18,720

that's pre-tax.

The current US Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour gets you $15,080 annual. Pre-tax. And let's face it, without vacation time.

21 responses so far

In a rare moment of clarity, NRA flack LaPierre makes huge Freudian slip

Dec 21 2012 Published by under FWDAOTI, General Politics

From this transcript of his remarks:

Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?

And there we have it. The full reveal.

For the slower members of the audience, or those reading after too many eggnogs...an explainer from Comradde Physioproffe.

all these delusional right-wing microdicke Republican gun fetishists ... we all know that their real goal has nothing to with preventing the slaughter of kindergartners, and everything to do with delusional phallic power fantasies to compensate for their real-world angry white d00d ineffectual dicklessness.

So yeah, LaPierre was talking about videogame fans...but dude. Fruedian slip much? Who the hell would compare GrandTheftAuto to porn unless he was popping a chubbie thinking about blowing people away in a hail of semiautomatic fire from his M-16 imitating AR-15 "sporting rifle"? And you know who those people are?

for Sporting Purposes only.


Honestly. Tell me there isn't something wrong with these folks.

8 responses so far

Some data on simple possession raps for three of my Readers

Dec 21 2012 Published by under Cannabis, General Politics

This is from a bit by David Frum:

20121221-074922.jpg

14 responses so far

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