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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,778

Journal Archives

Reich: choice between repeal of the ACA and Medicare for All is likely to be #1 issue in 2020

Looking forward to those pedantic posts telling us Reich doesn't understand what single payer means...

From FB:

Robert Reich
June 10, 4:18pm

Faced with a choice between a watered-down Affordable Care Act that pushes tens of millions off health care, or Medicare for All (a single-payer plan that builds on Medicare), swing voters will opt for the latter.

Whatever Senate Republicans come up with in the next month or so, it will still transfer resources from sicker and poorer Americans to wealthier and healthier ones. By contrast, Medicare for All would cover everyone at far lower cost.
This political reality is playing out in Congress, as Democrats move toward Medicare for All. Most House Democrats are co-sponsoring a Medicare for All bill there. Senator Bernie Sanders is preparing to introduce it in the Senate. The California Senate has advanced a single-payer bill for the state.

With health care emerging as the pubic's top concern, according to recent polls, the choice between repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare for All is likely to be the major domestic issue in the presidential campaign of 2020 (other than getting Trump out of office, if he lasts that long).

And the better choice should be clear. Private for-profit insurers spend a fortune trying to attract healthy people while avoiding the sick and needy, filling out paperwork from hospitals and providers, paying top executives, and rewarding shareholders. And they’re merging like mad, in order to make even more money. This is why health insurance is becoming so expensive, and why almost every other advanced nation – including our neighbor to the north – has adopted a single-payer system at less cost per person and with better health outcomes.

Most Americans support Medicare for All. According to a Gallup poll conducted in May, a majority would like to see a single-payer system implemented. An April survey from the Economist/YouGov showed 60 percent of Americans in favor of “expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American.” That includes nearly half of people who identify themselves as Republican.

Obama should have led with Medicare for All instead of the Affordable Care Act. But after Republicans gut the Affordable Care Act, the American public will be presented with the real choice ahead: Expensive health care for the few, or affordable health care for the many.
What do you think?

Michael Flynn, Russia in grand scheme to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world


BY JEFF STEIN ON 6/9/17 AT 7:00 AM

By the time Michael Flynn was fired as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser in February, he had made a lot of bad decisions. One was taking money from the Russians (and failing to disclose it); another was taking money under the table from the Turks. But an overlooked line in his financial disclosure form, which he was forced to amend to detail those foreign payments, reveals he was also involved in one of the most audacious—and some say harebrained—schemes in recent memory: a plan to build scores of U.S. nuclear power plants in the Middle East. As a safety measure.

In 2015 and 2016, according to his filing, Flynn was an adviser to X-Co Dynamics Inc./Iron Bridge Group, which at first glance looks like just another Pentagon consultancy that ex-military officers use to fatten their wallets. Its chairman and CEO was retired Admiral Michael Hewitt; another retired admiral, Frank “Skip” Bowman, who oversaw the Navy’s nuclear programs, was an adviser. Other top guns associated with it were former National Security Agency boss Keith Alexander and retired Marine Corps General James “Hoss” Cartwright, former vice chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose stellar career was marred when he was prosecuted last year for lying to the FBI during a leak investigation.

In the summer of 2015, knowledgeable sources tell Newsweek, Flynn flew to Egypt and Israel on behalf of X-Co/Iron Bridge. His mission: to gauge attitudes in Cairo and Jerusalem toward a fantastical plan for a joint U.S.-Russian (and Saudi-financed) program to get control over the Arab world’s rush to acquire nuclear power. At the core of their concern was a fear that states in the volatile Middle East would have inadequate security for the plants and safeguards for their radioactive waste—the stuff of nuclear bombs.

But no less a concern for Flynn and his partners was the moribund U.S. nuclear industry, which was losing out to Russian and even South Korean contractors in the region. Or as Stuart Solomon, a top executive along with Hewitt at his new venture, IP3 (International Peace, Power and Prosperity), put it in a recent speech to industry executives, “We find ourselves…standing on the sidelines and watching the competition pass us by.”...

More at http://www.newsweek.com/flynn-russia-nuclear-energy-middle-east-iran-saudi-arabia-qatar-israel-donald-623396

What could possibly go wrong? Turmoil, terrorism, war and nuclear power plants are a wonderful combination for progress, no?

Japan nuclear workers inhale plutonium after bag breaks

Japan nuclear workers inhale plutonium after bag breaks
Safety and security concerns raised after equipment inspection at research facility just north of Tokyo goes wrong
Wednesday 7 June 2017 22.16 EDT

Five workers at a Japanese nuclear facility have been exposed to high levels of radiation after a bag containing plutonium apparently broke during an equipment inspection.

Contamination was found inside the nostrils of three of the five men, a sign they had inhaled radioactive dust, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) said on Wednesday. All five were also had radioactive material on their limbs after removing protective gear and taking a shower.

Agency spokesman Masataka Tanimoto said one of the men had high levels of plutonium exposure in his lungs. The worker, in his 50s, had opened the lid of the container when some of the 300g of plutonium and uranium in the broken bag flew out.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at the agency’s Oarai research and development centre, a facility for nuclear fuel study that uses plutonium. It lies in Ibaraki prefecture, just north of Tokyo.

The cause of the accident is under investigation...


Solar PV cleans The Establishment's carbon powered clock.

Fuck Trump and his owners the Koch brothers.

The International Energy Agency (IEA)
Wiki: The International Energy Agency (IEA) (French: Agence internationale de l'énergie) is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. The IEA was initially dedicated to responding to physical disruptions in the supply of oil, as well as serving as an information source on statistics about the international oil market and other energy sectors.

The IEA acts as a policy adviser to its member states, but also works with non-member countries, especially China, India, and Russia. The Agency's mandate has broadened to focus on the "3Es" of effectual energy policy: energy security, economic development, and environmental protection.[1] The latter has focused on mitigating climate change.[2] The IEA has a broad role in promoting alternate energy sources (including renewable energy), rational energy policies, and multinational energy technology co-operation.

IEA member countries are required to maintain total oil stock levels equivalent to at least 90 days of the previous year's net imports. At the end of July 2009, IEA member countries held a combined stockpile of almost 4.3 billion barrels (680,000,000 m3) of oil....

About the International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) report:
The annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) is now the world’s most authoritative source of energy market analysis and projections, providing critical analytical insights into trends in energy demand and supply and what they mean for energy security, environmental protection and economic development.

The WEO projections are used by the public and private sector as a framework on which they can base their policy-making, planning and investment decisions and to identify what needs to be done to arrive at a supportable and sustainable energy future.

The WEO received numerous awards from governments and energy industry for its analytical excellence.

Source for graph.

A 1980 Letter on the Risk of Opioid Addiction N Engl J Med 2017

A 1980 Letter on the Risk of Opioid Addiction
N Engl J Med 2017; 376:2194-2195June 1, 2017DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1700150

To the Editor:

The prescribing of strong opioids such as oxycodone has increased dramatically in the United States and Canada over the past two decades.1 From 1999 through 2015, more than 183,000 deaths from prescription opioids were reported in the United States,2 and millions of Americans are now addicted to opioids. The crisis arose in part because physicians were told that the risk of addiction was low when opioids were prescribed for chronic pain. A one-paragraph letter that was published in the Journal in 19803 was widely invoked in support of this claim, even though no evidence was provided by the correspondents (see Section 1 in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org).
We performed a bibliometric analysis of this correspondence from its publication until March 30, 2017. For each citation, two reviewers independently evaluated the portrayal of the article’s conclusions, using an adaptation of an established taxonomy of citation behavior4 along with other aspects of generalizability (Section 2 in the Supplementary Appendix). For context, we also ascertained the number of citations of other stand-alone letters that were published in nine contemporaneous issues of the Journal (in the index issue and in the four issues that preceded and followed it).
We identified 608 citations of the index publication and noted a sizable increase after the introduction of OxyContin (a long-acting formulation of oxycodone) in 1995 (Figure 1FIGURE 1
Number and Type of Citations of the 1980 Letter, According to Year.). Of the articles that included a reference to the 1980 letter, the authors of 439 (72.2%) cited it as evidence that addiction was rare in patients treated with opioids. Of the 608 articles, the authors of 491 articles (80.8%) did not note that the patients who were described in the letter were hospitalized at the time they received the prescription, whereas some authors grossly misrepresented the conclusions of the letter (Section 3 in the Supplementary Appendix). Of note, affirmational citations have become much less common in recent years. In contrast to the 1980 correspondence, 11 stand-alone letters that were published contemporaneously by the Journal were cited a median of 11 times.
In conclusion, we found that a five-sentence letter published in the Journal in 1980 was heavily and uncritically cited as evidence that addiction was rare with long-term opioid therapy. We believe that this citation pattern contributed to the North American opioid crisis by helping to shape a narrative that allayed prescribers’ concerns about the risk of addiction associated with long-term opioid therapy. In 2007, the manufacturer of OxyContin and three senior executives pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors, and patients about the risk of addiction associated with the drug.5 Our findings highlight the potential consequences of inaccurate citation and underscore the need for diligence when citing previously published studies.

Pamela T.M. Leung, B.Sc. Pharm.
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Erin M. Macdonald, M.Sc.
Matthew B. Stanbrook, M.D., Ph.D.
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada
Irfan A. Dhalla, M.D.
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada
David N. Juurlink, M.D., Ph.D.
Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada


CRISPR Can Cause Hundreds of Unintended Mutations

CRISPR Can Cause Hundreds of Unintended Mutations
Wed, 05/31/2017 - 8:05am
by Columbia University Medical Center

As CRISPR-Cas9 starts to move into clinical trials, a new study published in Nature Methods has found that the gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome.

"We feel it's critical that the scientific community consider the potential hazards of all off-target mutations caused by CRISPR, including single nucleotide mutations and mutations in non-coding regions of the genome," says co-author Stephen Tsang, MD, PhD, the Laszlo T. Bito Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and associate professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center and in Columbia's Institute of Genomic Medicine and the Institute of Human Nutrition.


The researchers determined that CRISPR had successfully corrected a gene that causes blindness, but Kellie Schaefer, a PhD student in the lab of Vinit Mahajan, MD, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University, and co-author of the study, found that the genomes of two independent gene therapy recipients had sustained more than 1,500 single-nucleotide mutations and more than 100 larger deletions and insertions. None of these DNA mutations were predicted by computer algorithms that are widely used by researchers to look for off-target effects.

"Researchers who aren't using whole genome sequencing to find off-target effects may be missing potentially important mutations," Dr. Tsang says. "Even a single nucleotide change can have a huge impact."

More at https://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2017/05/crispr-can-cause-hundreds-unintended-mutations

These companies are racing to develop a Breathalyzer for pot

These companies are racing to develop a Breathalyzer for pot
POSTED 10:00 PM, MAY 28, 2017, BY CNN WIRE


...Hound Labs announced on Tuesday that it has raised $8.1 million from the venture capital company Benchmark, which funded Uber and Tinder, and has started clinical trials in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco.

The Hound device is designed to detect both marijuana and alcohol in human breath. Dr. Michael Lynn, the CEO, said his company is planning to sell it by the end of the year.

“We tested on so many people now that we’re quite confident,” he told CNNMoney.

He said his company’s device will cost $600 to $800 and will be sold to police departments — and employers, too. In the eight states where recreational pot is legal, companies might not care whether their workers smoked weed the night before, but would definitely care if they are driving trucks or school buses while stoned....


Nuclear industry prices itself out of power market, demands taxpayers keep it afloat

Nuclear industry prices itself out of power market, demands taxpayers keep it afloat

Nuclear power is so expensive even some conservatives are turning on it

The nuclear industry is so uncompetitive that half of U.S. nuclear power plants are no longer profitable. And if existing nukes are uneconomic, it’s no surprise that new nuclear plants are wildly unaffordable.
New York and Illinois have already agreed to more than $700 million a year in subsidies, and if all northeast and mid-Atlantic nukes got similar subsidies, it would cost U.S. consumers $3.9 billion a year. Things are so bad for the nuclear industry that, recently, even conservatives have started to publicly oppose the subsidies the industry needs to survive.
“Ever since the completion of the first wave of nuclear reactors in 1970, and continuing with the ongoing construction of new reactors in Europe, nuclear power seems to be doomed with the curse of cost escalation,” explained one 2015 journal article, “Revisiting the Cost Escalation Curse of Nuclear Power.”
At the same time, nuclear’s main competition — natural gas, energy efficiency, and renewables — have gotten much cheaper.
Last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the umpteenth cost overruns in Georgia Power’s effort to built two new reactors, with the headline, “Plant Vogtle: Georgia’s nuclear ‘renaissance’ now a financial quagmire.” The Westinghouse plants, originally priced at a whopping $14 billion are “currently $3.6 billion over budget and almost four years behind the original schedule.” Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in March.
The Georgia debacle should not shock anyone...


As 100 Percent Renewables Become the New Norm, a New Role for Utilities Emerges

As 100 Percent Renewables Become the New Norm, a New Role for Utilities Emerges
May 22, 2017
By Indran Ratnathicam

Portland, Ore., is one of the most recent municipalities to join dozens of cities and states across the U.S. in pledges to run on 100 percent renewable energy in the coming decades. Portland is taking a two-step approach toward its goal: first, the city and county in which it’s located have committed to work with energy utilities Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power to shift the electricity portfolio to renewable sources by 2035; second, it will eliminate all direct fossil fuel use, such as vehicle fuels, natural gas and home heating oil.

While Portland prides itself on being environmentally conscious, more and more government leaders across the country are introducing similarly aggressive measures — from Midwestern cities such as Chicago and Madison, Wis., to San Diego and the state of Hawaii.

A similar movement is happening at the corporate level. Leaders of some of the nation’s biggest companies are adopting 100 percent renewable purchasing initiatives. Leaders include Walmart, Nike, Nestle, Salesforce, Microsoft and Facebook, among many others, and are all part of the global Renewable Energy 100 Initiative. Per RE100’s 2016 annual report, the 90 companies in the program were, on average, already halfway to reaching their goal. Salesforce even accomplished its aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its global footprint by 2050, a whopping 33 years earlier than anticipated. Now that’s some serious momentum.

Wind and solar are among the most popular renewable energy sources, and companies are putting significant dollars behind adopting and expanding these programs. Wind has blown its way to the top of the list of renewables with record growth in 2016, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The growth is due in part to large-scale corporate initiatives such as General Motor’s (GM) wind-powered Arlington, TX assembly plant and 7-Eleven’s plan to power most of its Texas stores with wind energy beginning in 2018. Joining the likes of GM and 7-Eleven, as well as Facebook and Home Depot in wind energy investments, Apple recently announced that a soon-to-be-built wind farm in Oregon will power one of its data centers, which is located about 130 miles away. This is Apple’s largest renewable energy investment to date.

Given government organizations and corporations make up most of a utility’s customer base...


Physicians for a National Health Program support single-payer national health insurance.

Who is PNHP
Physicians for a National Health Program is a non-profit research and education organization of 20,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

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