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Topics - meepmeep


But some of the paper's most striking results don't have to do with specific treatments. Instead, they have to do with health insurance.

When researchers took the 32,699 American patients who visited American cystic fibrosis centers between 2009 and 2013, and broke them down according to their insurance coverage, the comparison with their 4,662 Canadian counterparts was telling.

The Canadians, all of whom get government-provided health coverage, had the same risk of dying as those Americans who had private insurance. When compared with Americans on continuous Medicare and Medicaid, though, Canadians' risk of death was 44 percent lower. And the disparity was even greater when it came to Americans with no insurance at all.

Medicaid coverage is very different from one state to the next, but those in the cystic fibrosis community were not completely surprised that patients who qualify for the government insurance might not have the best outcomes overall.

The biggest challenges, he said, are access to medications, given that cystic fibrosis patients often have to take some 10 to 15 drugs every day, some of which may not be covered under Medicaid.

There is, however, a confounding factor: "It's difficult to separate the access to care and your socioeconomic status," said Stephenson.

Yet Gorey's studies have found that even among cancer patients who have similarly low incomes in each country, "Canadians are much more likely to get the indicated surgery, much more likely to get chemotherapy, radiation therapy, much more likely to live longer," he said.

Yes, but, did they consider how many more iPhones Americans are buying? :hmm:
Politics and Current Events / Free speech on campus
 :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:

Consider a dual appearance of former Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner at Notre Dame's commencement last year. FIRE lists these as the target of disinvitations, but its only evidence is a letter from 89 students saying they were "disappointed and discouraged" by the invitations chiefly because of Biden's tolerance for abortion. But the students didn't call for the invitations to be rescinded or for Biden and Boehner to be prevented from speaking. When commencement arrived, they spoke, peaceably.

Moreover, not every protest results in a speaker's invitation being withdrawn. Only 24 "disinvitations" in 2016 resulted in a true withdrawn invitation; in FIRE's full database of 331 incidents going back to 2000, only 145 were true disinvitations. Is a protest that fails to result in a withdrawn invitation a blow against free speech? Hardly. In many if not most cases, it's an expression of free speech. Or is an invitation to give a talk on campus supposed to be immune from comment once it's tendered?

The biggest flaw of the FIRE database is its conflation of commencements with campus talks and debates. As anyone knows who has spent even a semester on campus, one of these things is not like the others. Commencements account for about 40% of the incidents in FIRE's database of 331 "disinvitations" dating back to 2000, and seven of the 43 cases last year.

The right is still intent on undercutting what they see as the liberal political power of the university. But they're taking a different tack, pursuing their goals in more structural ways: weakening tenure, slashing budgets, upping teaching loads. It would be easy to dismiss this as simply a result of austerity programs, which have cut public services to the bone in states across America. But in states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, however, the cuts have been accompanied by rhetoric that makes the true goal clear: attacking curriculums and professors who seem too liberal, and weakening the overall power of the university.

Take North Carolina. Since Republicans took over the state government in the Tea Party wave of 2010, the state's universities have been under constant attack. Centers on the environment, voter engagement, and poverty studies have all been shuttered by the Board of Governors, which is appointed by the state legislature.

No sooner had Pat McCrory come into the governor's office in 2013 than he began making broadsides against the university, using stark economic measures to target liberal arts programs, like gender studies, with which he disagreed. His stated view was that university programs should be funded based on how many of their graduates get jobs.

Notably, the McCrory campaign was bankrolled by Art Pope, founder of the Pope Center for Higher Education (now the Martin Center), an organization dedicated to increasing the "diversity of ideas" taught on campus. As its policy director, Jay Schalin, explained in 2015, the crisis at the university stems from "the ideas that are being discussed and promoted": "multiculturalism, collectivism, left-wing post-modernism." He wants less Michel Foucault on campus, more Ayn Rand.

As two conservative professors, we agree that right-wing faculty members and ideas are not always treated fairly on college campuses. But we also know that right-wing hand-wringing about higher education is overblown. After interviewing 153 conservative professors in the social sciences and humanities, we believe that conservatives survive and even thrive in one of America's most progressive professions.

Science / Pain control and the opiate epidemic
A different take, one that often gets totally ignored:

Many of our colleagues in addiction medicine tell us they are alarmed by the widespread mistreatment of pain patients. We receive anecdotes every week from physicians and pharmacists, most of them expert in addictions, describing pain patients who have involuntarily lost access to their pain medications and as a result have been reduced from working to bedridden adults, or who have become suicidal.

This loss of access occurs several ways. A pharmacy benefit program may refuse to cover the prescription because it has already enacted the changes that CMS is proposing to make mandatory. A physician may feel threatened by employers or regulators, and believes his or her professional survival depends on reducing opioid doses -- involuntarily and without the patient's consent -- to thresholds that the CDC itself described as voluntary and not mandatory. Or state regulators have imposed such burdensome requirements that no physician in a given region can sustain prescriptions for their patients. Such patients are then "orphaned," compelled to seek treatment from other physicians across the country.

Given the expertise in addiction among these physicians, it should be particularly worrisome that they believe the present pill-control campaign has gone too far. And yet, the ethics are clear: It should never be acceptable for us to countenance the death of one patient in the avowed service of protecting others, even more so when the projected benefit is unproven.

A hearing in El Paso County in Texas went from ordinary to "unprecedented" last week when half a dozen Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents showed up at a courthouse where an undocumented woman was seeking a protective order against the boyfriend she accused of abusing her.

The woman, a citizen of Mexico who was living in El Paso had been driven to the courthouse by a victim's advocate from the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse where she had been living.

She left under arrest.

"This is really unprecedented," El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal told The Washington Post.

It was the first time in her 23 years at the courthouse, Bernal said, that she can remember ICE agents making their presence known during a protective order hearing. The agents had come to stake out the woman, identified by her initials I.E.G., because, Bernal speculates, they likely received a tip from the only other person who knew the time and place of the hearing -- the woman's alleged abuser.

Already the policies have led to the deportation of an undocumented mother from Arizona who, rather than dodge her check-in with immigration officials, dutifully went and was detained. In Seattle, a 23-year-old man who had been living legally in the United States under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was arrested and detained last week by ICE officials who claimed he was a gang member, something his lawyers deny.

And in Denver, an undocumented mother of four who had been living in the United States for 20 years sought refuge in the basement of a church this week rather than check in with authorities, for fear she too would be deported.

In El Paso, Bernal said her office, which prosecutes criminal cases and represents alleged victims of domestic violence, like I.E.G., has felt the weight of this policy shift in recent weeks. Call volume has increased from concerned El Paso residents, she said, who have reported checkpoints in certain parts of town and the appearance of ICE agents at routine traffic stops.

The lesson to be learned is don't trust the authorities. Great!
Politics and Current Events / SCOTUS Nominee
On tonight's episode...

Will it be ?


Will it be ?

Tune in to find out!

(No, really, they made identical Twitter pages for both of them. They're making both of them travel to DC so one of them can go home without having been nominated.)

USA! USA! USA! :cheer:
Politics and Current Events / Trouble in the Balkans
Mostly comprehensive explanation here:

More about the attempted coup in Montenegro by Russian-backed Serbs:

More on the Serbia/Kosovo train debacle:

This "invade to protect our ethnic minorities" plan is just a carbon copy of Russia's policy in Ukraine and the Caucasus.
Politics and Current Events / Comic relief thread
Because we all need a break from staring at the magnificent hellscape.

The Adventures of Donald the Bin:
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / The Dog Thread
because dogs are the best

A friend of mine shared this from a shelter in MD:

I want this dog. Because he is a beagle and he's 7 and he HAS ONLY ONE EYE and he needs a home and he looks like my dog. But I can't have a second dog.  :crai:

Oh well, here is my dog:


Much of the associated burden will continue to fall upon government budgets, at least under the plausible assumption that the demand for health care doesn't shrink radically. Part of the problem is that fixing people is harder than fixing machines, because it requires the cooperation of what are often recalcitrant patients. That's why productivity improvements are difficult to achieve in education as well. Online learning can be potent and very cheap, but it is hard to get enough of the students to care.

Arguably, we as fallible humans are the ultimate source of the productivity problem, and also a big part of why governments tend to grow. If patients and students would diet properly, take the right medicines and crack open their textbooks, more drastic cost improvements could result.


Prevention saves money, but when the bulk of spending is on end-of-life care and catastrophic care, you're never going to see the same productivity increases that you get from automation of manufacturing facilities or computer programming. Like, how is this not immediately fucking apparent to anyone who knows the first fucking thing about healthcare?

Christ, and even ignoring the stupid arguments, the style of that piece is awful. It's so poorly written that it sounds like a fucking freshman writing seminar paper. How can you be such a shitty writer and end up working in academia and publishing in a major outlet? WHAT THE FUCK, guys?
Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

These senior intelligence officials also included the synopsis to demonstrate that Russia had compiled information potentially harmful to both political parties, but only released information damaging to Hillary Clinton and Democrats. This synopsis was not an official part of the report from the intelligence community case about Russian hacks, but some officials said it augmented the evidence that Moscow intended to harm Clinton's candidacy and help Trump's, several officials with knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.

It hits all the right notes:
- thimerosal = mercury = death  :stopper:
- formaldehyde  = death :stopper:
- "the flu vaccine gave me the flu"
- everything is tainted with chemicals whose names good average folks can't pronounce
- "Autism and ADHD didn't exist when I was a kid!"
- quote that cites for information on eating "toxin-free" food

This guy is the medical director and COO of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.



One of the more interesting, understated points:
There is an education and race divide among the men who take these jobs, the study found. Black men were 3.3 times as likely as white men to take the lowest-rung health jobs, and other minority men were 1.8 times as likely. White men were more likely to take the higher-status technical jobs.

For men without college degrees, more technical training that equips them for those jobs could help. And if health aide jobs paid more and offered better benefits, they'd probably attract more men. Some hospitals are trying to make caregiving jobs seem manly -- like with a recruitment poster comparing the "adrenaline rush" of being an operating room nurse to mountain climbing.

"At some point or another we have to be responsible or have a part of the responsibility of what is going on," Huizenga said. "Way too often, people pull out their insurance card and they say 'I don't know the difference or cost between an X-ray or an MRI or CT Scan.' I might make a little different decision if I did know (what) some of those costs were and those costs came back to me."

Guess what, buddy? Providers don't know the fucking costs of those things, either, and that's not even considering the negotiation that goes on after care has been provided. It's why it takes a staff of a dozen fucking people and a few weeks at minimum to get the actual payment straightened out. It once took my provider six months to send me a fucking bill.

But here's the best part, the most glorious, wonderful bit of it all - his shining example of how to exercise patient responsibility in his Republican wonderland:
The father of five offered a personal example of how this shift might play out. He says his youngest son fell and injured his arm. Not sure if it was sprained or broken, he and his wife decided to wait until the next morning to take the 10-year-old to the doctor's office, instead of going to the emergency room that night. The arm was broken.

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. "That's the consensus view."

In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.


The Trump transition team dismissed the findings in a short statement issued Friday evening. "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again,' " the statement read.


"I don't believe they interfered" in the election, he told Time magazine this week. The hacking, he said, "could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey."

phew, it's a good thing this guy isn't going to be in charge of the CI-...

The CIA presentation to senators about Russia's intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency's assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin "directing" the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were "one step" removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees.

In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia's role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals.

And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as "the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process."

The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.

According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

"I HAVE WORKED IN 60 COUNTRIES, covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent much of 2014 living inside West Africa's Ebola zone, a place gripped by fear and death. What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers' summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes' taking seriously Mr. Duterte's call to 'slaughter them all.'"

Jesus christ, this is sickening.
Make your demands here, and maybe we will do something about it.

Good job, BLM!

Oh wai-

It appeared the suspect, who is white, had a recent run-in with police.

A 10-minute video posted on YouTube last month by a user calling himself Scott Greene showed an interaction with officers following an incident at a high school stadium in which he described holding up a Confederate battle flag during the playing of the U.S. national anthem at a football game.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm whether the video was made by the suspect, whose face does not appear in it. It records a male voice arguing with police over the incident.

The man is heard complaining to police that "African-American people" took the flag from him in the stands, "assaulted" him, and saying he wanted to press charges.

Meanwhile the people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline are having dogs unleashed on them and are getting arrested left and right.

America. :awgee:
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / The Cat Thread
Here is a cat tripping on some kitty magic anesthetics before surgery: