Not content with attempting to impose his anti-abortion agenda upon the women who live in the nation’s capital, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) now intends to push for a nationwide bill to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. Franks, who invoked the illegal abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to justify his decision to re-introduce a 20-week abortion ban in DC, now says that Gosnell’s crimes have compelled him to amend his bill so it applies to women across the country.
The Arizona congressmember announced his decision to expand his bill on Friday. In a statement, Franks compared Gosnell — who has been convicted of killing of three infants that were born alive following botched illegal, unsanitary abortion procedures — to all late-term abortion procedures. “Had Kermit Gosnell dismembered these babies before they had traveled down the birth canal only moments earlier, he would have, in many places nationwide, been performing an entirely legal procedure,” Franks said.
However, that’s a gross mischaracterization of the state of legal abortion services throughout the country. Abortion opponents have repeatedly attempted to twist the facts surrounding Gosnell’s high-profile murder trial to make it appear as if his crimes are rampant throughout legal abortion clinics. But that’s simply not the case. The Philadelphia-area abortion doctor was guilty of much more than simply breaking Pennsylvania’s law that criminalizes abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy; he was also able to offer discounted prices for his services because he didn’t employ medical professionals or adhere to safety standards. Gosnell’s “house of horrors” isn’t analogous to the way that legal, sanitary late-term abortion clinics provide care to the women who need it.
Even the stuffy, ordered world of academia likes a little surprise now and then. And those eggheads at New York University have certainly surprised the city, nay the nation, with the news that Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former king and queen Bill and Hillary, is the co-founder and co-chair of some sort of thing called the Of Many Institute. This Institute, housed within NYU I suppose, is dedicated to “multifaith” studies, its mission to harbor, uh, multifaithism and create conversations, etc. etc. So it’s a little squishy, but whatever. Though NYU’s website put Clinton’s bio up on their website a while back, it remained otherwise mum about the news until now. Why? Oh probably so a multifaith institute would get some press. It’s a smart move. Who knows how much work this will actually involve for the busy Clinton, who already works as an assistant vice provost at the university, but it’s a feather in NYU’s cap and certainly good PR for Clinton. It’s amazing that she’s so young and she’s gotten all these gigs! She must be checking Craigslist and sending out cover letters like crazy. Good for her. Gotta respect her tenacity. Page Six is careful to point out that Clinton and her banker husband recently bought “a $10.5 million luxury apartment across the street from Madison Square Park,” so I guess it makes sense that Clinton is working several jobs. Mortgages don’t pay themselves! Work, Chelsea, work! [Page Six]
Atlantic pulled this story from the New York Post
Some of the beacons use infrared flashes to signal their location; in 2009, al-Qaida propagandists claimed they found them all over villages that had been hit with U.S. drone strikes. Others are implanted into seemingly-innocent commercial electronics. Under “TTL examples,” Richardson’s presentation (.pdf) showed pictures of a cell phone and a key fob, like the kind used to open a car. Still other tags are affixed to cars or people, and transmit their whereabouts using satellite or CDMA, GPRS, and other cellular networks.
Until 2009, the market for these tags was dominated by the secretive, Virginia-headuqartered Blackbird Technologies, Inc., which counts a former chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center as a executive. That year, the firm won a contract from the Navy for up to $450 million in TTL equipment.
This along with the Biometric technology and techniques developed, deployed and successfully leveraged in Iraq and Afghanstan are driving the “Black Helicopter” crowd crazy.
Your Wonkette is a Very Influential Blog on the Internet, an enviable position that nonetheless carries with it certain afflictions. For example, we often attract the attention of the sorts of folks who probably don’t get invited to many parties, because they are no fun at all. So it came as no surprise that yesterday’s epic rant by your editrix re: the destructive Midwestern tornados drew a response from a website called junkscience.com (Also, these guys, who didn’t care that we were profane but called us “warmist vultures come to feed on the dead.” “Warmist,” haw haw, that’s a clever pejorative for dummies who believe in climate change! Your editrix has instructed us to ask how many of those smug Aussies have their whole family in Oklahoma, 10 miles from Moore, and also to tell them to commit a lewd sex act upon themselves.) (Also also, we got some head-shaking from fellow liberals who thought we were “flippant” instead of OUTRAGED!!!1! So that’s a true shame.)
The “junk science” that junkscience.com claims to “debunk” is what you think it is. No, it will not take long to read their entire post concerning your Wonkette, because it is about 20 words long. Here it is:
First Blood: Wonkette blog unleashes profanity-laden screed at Sen. Imhofe, skeptics over Oklahoma tornado.
Read the Wonkette screed.
That last part links to the “offending” article in the original, but you’ve probably already read it. Boy was it ever a stem-winder!
So, OK, let’s be COMPLETELY FAIR. There is no way to be certain that the Oklahoma tornado would not have killed a bunch of people had humans not been increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 for the last several hundred years.
That said, oh gosh, where to begin? Perhaps with junkscience.com’s central huckster, “Steve Milloy.” It will probably not surprise you to learn that Steve Milloy’s curriculum vitae indicates a man who likes money quite a bit! He has been a “securities lawyer” and an “investment fund manager” (no mention of dentistry, or any expertise in any field relevant to climate science, for that matter). As a man who seems to enjoy money, Steve Milloy has certainly chosen a lucrative hobby: he ministers to the many rubes in this great country who, for reasons of tribalism, contrarianism, personal gain, or/and religious fundamentalism refuse to believe that science is real. That’s the real beauty of the truly ignorant: once they’ve been taught a thing by a source they trust (God, Wal-Mart), they’ll spend their own hard-earned money on anything (such as Steve Milloy’s books) that confirms the thing, rather than consider, at no charge, the possibility that the thing they learned is wrong. We get it; learning’s hard — best to do as little of it as possible.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A classroom curriculum system used by hundreds of Texas school districts will stop offering lesson plans after some conservative groups claimed it was promoting anti-American values.
State Sen. Dan Patrick said Monday that officials who created the system known as CSOPE will vote to scrap thousands of lesson plans this week, effectively killing the entire system.
CSCOPE had helped teachers adhere to complicated state educational requirements with Web-based lesson plans and exams.
Some 877 school districts, many small and unable to create costly curriculums on their own, paid fees to use it.
But CSCOPE drew criticism from tea party groups, who claimed some lesson plans promoted pro-Islam ideals.
A bill making its way through the Legislature would have subjected CSCOPE to greater official oversight. But Patrick’s announcement makes that moot.
On Tuesday afternoon the Senate Education Committee heard testimony on a bill that would grant the State Board of Education oversight of CSCOPE, an online curriculum delivery system that has drawn the ire of conservative activists for its alleged “progressive, pro-Islam bias.”
The CSCOPE system, which was developed by a consortium of state-funded education service centers, is used by some 875 school districts in Texas. Teachers can log on and download a variety of lesson plans—created by educators from around the state—on a full spectrum of subjects, including social studies and science, which incorporate the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). It first gained national attention last November when conservative talk show host (and recent Dallas transplant) Glenn Beck mentioned a lesson on his show that said that, from the British perspective, the Boston Tea Party could be considered an act of terrorism.
Once again, what is most interesting to me is the dynamic that this sets in motion and or facilitates. From the first article, “Some 877 school districts, many small and unable to create costly curriculums on their own, paid fees to use it.” Then from the second article, The CSCOPE system, which was developed by a consortium of state-funded education service centers, is used by some 875 school districts in Texas. Teachers can log on and download a variety of lesson plans—created by educators from around the state—on a full spectrum of subjects, including social studies and science, which incorporate the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)”.
So, the smaller school systems, which are unable to afford to develop their own curriculum to support the teaching of their children to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills testing level will now loose the use of CSCOPE because of the influence of intellectual giants like Glenn Beck.
And I will guarantee that the enlightened Texas State Legislators who effectively killed CSCOPE will promise to replace it with something using state money. And they will ultimately fail to do so. It will follow the same pattern when they also effectively killed Planeed Parenthood.
So here is the pattern, opposing and then killing essential programs for the poorer less educated more rural portions of a population based on anti-intellectual / anti-scientific and often religious grounds. If that isn’t American Talibanism I don’t know what is.
PS - The poor and Hispanic populations tend to be disproportionately effected.
In a disgusting display, even by TEApublican standards, Stephen Fincher (R-TN) quoted the “Book of Thessalonians” from the New Testament to justify letting the poor starve. Fincher smugly stated on the House floor:
The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.
Of course, it’s a well-known attribute of conservatives to see things in black and white while often missing more nuanced aspects of real life. In Fincher’s warped mind, people that need help are just lazy moochers who should simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps, even though, as most liberals know, many of these people don’t even have boots–or functioning feet in the context of this analogy–for that matter.
We have three points to make to Mr. Fincher and anyone else who buys into this absurd and disturbing way of thinking.
1. Most people on SNAP are not “unwilling” to work. Food insecurity is a real problem in America, but indolence is not to blame. From a Center on Policy and Budget Priorities (cbpp.org) piece titled, Contrary to “Entitlement Society” Rhetoric, Over Nine-Tenths of Entitlement Benefits Go to Elderly, Disabled, or Working Household:
Some conservative critics of federal social programs, including leading presidential candidates, are sounding an alarm that the United States is rapidly becoming an “entitlement society” in which social programs are undermining the work ethic and creating a large class of Americans who prefer to depend on government benefits rather than work. A new CBPP analysis of budget and Census data, however, shows that more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households — not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work. This figure has changed little in the past few years.Share of entitlements benefits
Conservatives have also proven to be shameless lying hypocrites in many cases. Take Mark Sanford, who just won a congressional seat in South Carolina, for example. After much finger-wagging, Mr. Sanford voted to impeach President Clinton over the Lewinsky sex scandal, yet asked for forgiveness–without any sense of irony–after being caught romping with his mistress in South America on the tax payer’s dime. It would seem Rep. Fincher also fits this mold.
An elderly woman who thought she lost everything including her dog after a tornado wiped out much of an Oklahoma City suburb found a glimmer of hope on Monday during an interview with CBS News reporter Anna Werner.
“I never lost consciousness,” Barbara Garcia recalled, standing atop a pile of rubble that used to be her home. “And I hollered for my little dog and he didn’t answer. He didn’t come. So I know he’s in here somewhere.”
As the interview continued, someone off camera pointed out that the dog was trapped underneath a pile of nearby debris.
“Aw, oh, Cathy!” the woman exclaimed. “Bless your little bitty heart. Help me!”
With a little help from Werner, the dog was freed.
“I thought God just answered one prayer, to let me be okay,” Garcia explained. “He answered both of them. This was my second prayer.”
A coalition of tea party organizations and conservative leaders will release a scathing letter Tuesday against the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill, calling the legislation so “defective” that senators need to scrap it altogether.
The letter, which includes nearly 150 signers, also urges senators to not only reject the underlying legislation, but any procedural votes that would be required for the Senate to begin working on the bill on the floor.
The signatories include former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), RedState.com editor Erick Erickson, and Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder and national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. The letter is also signed by conservative and tea party leaders from more than 25 states - spanning from California to Iowa to Alabama to New Hampshire.
Notice who the leaders are - Allen West (former Congressman), Eric Erickson (never elected to anything), then various leaders of Tea Party orgs. All with proven track records of repelling minority voters. So even if this passes, it will do so with the GOP’s most stridently racist groups kicking and screaming. This will completely swamp any chance of it convincing minorities that the GOP is what it is.
By Emily Alpert, Los Angeles Times
May 21, 2013
Salt Lake City: the gay parenting capital of the United States?
Unexpected as it may sound, a new study finds that the Utah capital and its outskirts have the nation’s highest percentage of gay or lesbian couples raising children.
Among couples of the same sex in the Salt Lake City area, more than 1 in 4 are rearing children, the analysis of census data reveals.
That fact may seem at odds with perceptions that San Francisco and New York are the centers of gay and lesbian life. Pop culture depicts gays and lesbians turning to adoption, sperm banks or surrogacy to form families in decidedly liberal cities such as Los Angeles.
May 20, 2013 — A new report suggests that improved health care and significant reductions in drug costs might be attained by breaking up the age-old relationship between physicians and drug company representatives who promote the newest, more costly and often unnecessary prescription drugs.
This system, which has been in place for decades, at one time benefited doctors by keeping them up to date on new medications, and always provided generous amounts of “free” samples to get patients started on the newest drugs, as well as other supplies and gifts.
But it’s actually a powerful marketing process into which the pharmaceutical industry pours tens of billions of dollars a year, with more than 90,000 drug representatives providing gifts and advice. There is one drug representative for every eight doctors in the United States. This doesn’t necessarily serve the best interests of the patient in terms of economy, efficacy, safety or accuracy of information, experts say.
In one of the first reports of its type — titled “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” — researchers from Oregon State University, Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Washington outlined the deliberate process that one central Oregon medical clinic went through to remove drug company representatives from their practice. It explored the obstacles they faced and the ultimate, successful result. The findings were just published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
The study found that avoiding conflicts of interest and becoming “pharma-free” is possible, but not easy.
“This is a culture change, one that’s already happening but still has a ways to go, especially in smaller private practices,” said Dr. David Evans, now with the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington, and previously a physician at the Madras, Ore., clinic featured in the article.
“The relationship between physicians and drug company representatives goes back generations, and it took a methodical, deliberate campaign to change it,” Evans said. “We ultimately decided something had to be done when our medical clinic was visited by drug reps 199 times in six months. That number was just staggering.”
Part of what allows the change, the researchers said, is that information on new medications is now available in many other forums. These may have less bias and be more evidence-based than the material traditionally provided by the pharmaceutical industry, which wanted to sell the latest product. In the Madras clinic, the physicians replaced information previously supplied by drug reps with monthly meetings to stay current on new medications, based on peer-reviewed, rather than promotional literature.
“In the past 5-10 years there’s been more of a move toward what we call ‘academic detailing,’ in which universities and other impartial sources of information can provide accurate information without bias,” said Daniel Hartung, assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy. “This is being supported by some states and the federal government, and it’s a move in the right direction.”
Moves to separate the drug industry from the practice of medicine have been more aggressive in large medical teaching hospitals, Hartung said, but much less so in smaller private practice. Of the 800,000 physicians in the U.S., only 22 percent practice in academic settings, the study noted, and 84 percent of primary care physicians still have close relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.
The stakes can be high, the researchers said. In the study example, the “sample cabinet” of medications at the Madras clinic, provided for free by the pharmaceutical representatives, had an average price of $90 for a month’s supply of the medications. Less expensive, generic medications were identified for 38 of the 46 sample drugs, which would have cost $22 a month.
The new analysis explored the necessary steps that a private clinic can take to help address this concern, including quantifying the clinic-industry relationship, anticipating clinician and staff concerns, finding new ways to provide up-to-date information, and educating patients and the public
So let’s do a quick analysis using facts from this study, shall we?
For a “sample cabinet” of drugs”:
# Drugs x Cost = Total
Pharma Drugs 46 x $90 = $4140
Generics 38 x $22 = $836
Pharma Drugs with no generic substitute 8 x $90 = $720
So the total cost of the “sample cabinet” filled with Pharma Drugs is $4140
And the total cost of the “sample cabinet” filled with Generics plus Pharma drugs that can’t be replaced by Generics is $836 $720 = $1556.
So the percentage increase in the cost of the drugs in the “sample cabinet” due to Pharma Sales efforts is ($4140 - $1556) / $4140 = 62%
Then, let’s calculate what it costs the US Healthcare System to pay for these Pharma Sales Reps:
The study says that there are 90,000 Pharma Reps in the US. And if we estimate that the costs are $300,000 / yr (that includes salary, bene’s, travel, sales promos, gifts, speaker programs etc) then the total cost is 90,000 x $300,000 = $27B / yr.
So the US Health Care System spends $27 B / yr so that we pay 62% more for our drugs.
Nice business model if you’ve got the money to pay the lobbyists to keep the govt from interfering. Oops, I forgot, we pay for that too!
PS - When Categorizing this, I was going to choose “Health” but since this has nothing to do with that I chose “Business” instead.