(2526 comments, 243 posts)
Monotreme is an unabashed liberal and dog lover who lives in an almost-square state in the Western U.S. He keeps a second blog related to his work as a scientist and author at 7synapses.com.
Home page: http://www.logarchism.com
Posts by Monotreme
It all started with Barbara Garcia and Bowzie. Garcia is an elderly woman from Moore, Oklahoma. She has a buttery, lovely OklaTex accent, the vowels and cadence of my grandmother and mother. Garcia is describing, on live TV, the complete destruction of her home by an EF5 tornado:
When it stopped, I was right there [motions to a kitchen appliance atop a pile of lumber, bricks, and other rubble], that Presto cooker is what I saw. … I hollered for my little dog, and he didn’t answer, he didn’t come, so I know he’s in here somewhere.
The reporter offscreen is asking her the usual series of pointless after-disaster questions.
““What do you think happened here?”
““I know exactly what happened here,” and Ms. Garcia’s tone adds, [you idiot].
The camerawoman is heard offscreen announcing, “the dog!” She pans to a spot in the rubble where a black sooty smudge of fur is wriggling.
Barbara leans down to lift a piece of a heavy appliance, maybe a hunk of furnace, unrecognizable now. It slips from her grasp, and she pleads for help and Megan (presumably the reporter) has to be told by the offscreen camerawoman to pitch in and help. Bowzie, her beloved mini schnauzer, is safe. She’s lost everything except the clothes on her back, and now she thanks God for answering her prayers. (more…)
Back in February, I told you about the woes of newly-inaugurated Utah Attorney General John Swallow.
At the time, he was accused by convicted swindler Jeremy Johnson. In 2010, Johnson claims he paid Swallow, then the Assistant AG, money to be used to bribe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In return, Reid was supposed to get the Federal Trade Commission to lay off Johnson’s former Internet marketing company.
The most incriminating thing for Swallow in this whole farrago of nonsense is his voice on tape appearing to humor Johnson and even collect some money from him, which Swallow says was a campaign donation.
Now, another three months have passed and three more investigations of Swallow are underway. (more…)
Tuesday, Angelina Jolie, who possesses perhaps the most famous mammary glands on the planet, announced in a New York Times Op-Ed that her breasts have been prophylactically removed because a gene test for BRCA1 came back positive. It’s a well-written, passionate and thoroughly researched article which I strongly recommend you read.
We don’t generally do celebrity news here at Logarchism, but we do discuss the politics and economics of health care. Jolie’s story illustrates some of the challenges facing health care as we move into the Age of Obamacare.
Jolie’s announcement comes as the Supreme Court has heard arguments, and is currently deliberating and preparing a written opinion, in the Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. case. I summarized the relevant facts in an earlier article.
Jolie is no stranger to controversy, and she (or her publicist) delves into the deep end of medical ethics and public policy with this bold statement:
Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low– and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.
If the Supreme Court decides in favor of Myriad, we can expect this situation to continue. (more…)
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the epoch of incredulity…
One is dead. The other has been resurrected from political death.
Saturday’s Pakistani elections for the National Assembly resulted in a resounding win for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Muslim League (PML-N). Former cricket star Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), appears to be in opposition. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), founded and run by the Bhutto family, got walloped.
This al Jazeera infographic explains the Pakistani election process. The May 11 elections were for the National Assembly, leaving the PPP in charge of the Presidency.
If Sharif can form a government, and the army can be persuaded not to overthrow the democratic process, then it will be the first legal transition of power in the 66-year history of the country.
The January announcement of the impending retirement of Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has set off a scramble for his seat in Georgia, perhaps the best Class 2 Senate seat pickup opportunity for the Democrats. (Senators are divided into three Classes for election dates, and the election of Class 2 Senators will take place in November 2014.)
You might remember Representative John Barrow (D-Augusta, GA) as the only remaining Congressional White Democrat in the Deep South. Barrow was reëlected in 2012 after Republican gerrymandering changed his district from D+1 centered on Savannah to R+10. This rated the redistricting as #5 on Charlie Cook’s list of most politically adroit gerrymanders of the 2010 Census cycle.
(To be fair, Cook calls his list “25 Biggest Redistricting Swings Against the Incumbent Party” but I renamed it for emphasis. Before I hear squawking, notice the gerrymander of Maryland’s 6th District by Democrats is #1.)
Barrow had to leave Savannah and move to Augusta to hold his seat, which he did by a wide margin (54–46 percent) against a weak Republican opponent. He reportedly considered the Senate run, but has just demurred. (more…)
A kerfuffle has broken out over the age at which women will be allowed to have the “morning-after” contraceptive levonorgestrel, commonly called by its former brand name “Plan B One-Step”.
Currently, the drug is available without a prescription to women 17 and older but is kept behind the pharmacist’s counter so that a woman’s age can be confirmed before it is sold. Women under 17 must have a doctor’s prescription to buy the drug.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA), headed by Margaret Hamburg, MD, has reportedly been poised to use the mass of scientific evidence to make the drug freely available to all women of reproductive age. That move was blocked by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The order to block FDA action had apparently been passed down the chain of command from the President himself. At the very least, he publicly endorsed the decision after the fact.
The bell rang to start the present fight on April 5 when Federal District Court Judge Edward R. Korman (Eastern District of New York) released his ruling in Tummino v. Hamburg, overturning a ban on selling levonorgestrel over the counter to women under 17. (more…)