A recent article in New England Journal of Medicine (ABC News report of same) has pulished a study clearly demonstrating that the non-availability of one of the "gold standard" pharmaceuticals called mechlorethamine (HN2 for short) used to treat Hodgkins lymphoma has become so scarce that many children who were being successfully treated with a cocktail of drugs that included HN2 had to be switched to a "plan B" drug, and many of these suffered a worsening of their cancer.
On the day after Election Day 2012, Rachel Maddow did a great piece in NBC TV. Since I don't watch (or own a) TV, I was fortunate to have a friend forward this to me:
"Ohio really did go to President Obama [Tuesday] night, he really did win. He really was born in Hawaii, and he really is, legitimately, President of the United States again.
And The Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing! And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism."
See the entire video here.
When you listen to the conservative talking points, the bloviators, the political ads that sap untold billions from productive use, the one topic about which everyone has heard ad nauseum, is the national debt. Evil, nasty, "something's got to be done", "not living within our means". The associated term is deficit. The deficit, of course, is loosely speaking the excess of government spending over government income. The national debt is the total of all our past expenditures less all our past revenues, carried back to the beginning of the republic. Years in which government spends more than it takes in (in the form of taxes of all kind: corporate, personal income, import duties, fines for wrongdoing, etc.) will cause the national debt to increase - we owe more after such years - and when we have more revenue than expenses (yes, it has happened, and not long ago, either), will cause the national debt to decrease. This is pretty simple math, and we all get the idea. Don't we?
This piece is just another observation about one of the principles of government that seems to have gotten lost in the last 30 years or so. That principle is the notion of public or common good as a legitimate, arguably necessary function of government.
There are a few areas in today's political climate that conservatives believe are legitimate interests of the federal government: national security, broadly interpreted, being at the top of the list. A complete list of recognized federal functions, with a brief discussion of each, can be found here.
The two areas under the gun from conservatives are broadly, government provision of goods and services and social programs, who argue that many or most of these functions are not legitimate functions of government. ("Many" or "most" being based on how rabid the particular conservative is on a given day.) Instead, they argue, these functions are best left to the "free market" where individuals will have the "choice" to participate or not.
The website, that is. And the author as well. You will notice that this latest edition of my website looks and behaves differently from the first two. It is built on the open-source content management system called Joomla! (the exclamation point is part of the name, not a sign of excitement here. Joomla lets one concentrate on what's on the site rather than how to put it there. Lots of flexibility, lots of free add-ons and templates, so it's possible to change the whole look of the site by clicking a button.
This page will change fairly often, as I feel the urge to vent at something. New stuff will appear here at the top, and newer stuff will push the older stuff downward.
There is a Discussions link you can see on the left -- it will take you to our built-in bulletin board/forum. You'll need to register for a login to see or post anything on the forum. I'll approve registrations for people I know, but no others. I don't expect a lot of action on the forum -- I've found that a forum like this, to be viable, needs a few hundred people who are interested enough to check in and contribute regularly. If I knew a few hundred people that would be one thing, but....
Forum's gone. Couldn't keep spammers off it.
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