Links 2/9/11

Ravens stressed by ‘gang life’ BBC

Bird kills man at cockfight Guardian (hat tip reader Buzz Potamkin)

Dapper Blue Penguin: Tux Is a Feathery First LiveScience (hat tip reader John M)

Hudson Bay Still Not Frozen Solid… Brad DeLong

Lymph Node Study Shakes Pillar of Breast Cancer Care New York Times. I guarantee practice will be slow to change.

Assange Probe Hits Snag Wall Street Journal

Live from Cairo (17) Lambert Strether: “This is SO not over…..”

Why Egypt Should Worry China Barry Eichengreen, Project Syndicate (hat tip Mark Thoma)

And With That, OpenLeft Closes Up Shop techPresident. More important than you might realize…

House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers Wired

Americans divided on second term for Obama, poll shows Raw Story

Medical Malpractice Reform: Truth in Advertising Needed Dan Crawford, Angry Bear

Investment in financial literacy and saving decisions Tullio Jappelli, Mario Padula, VoxEU. Suggests that Pete Peterson should have invested in that personal finance education program after all.

Revealed: how the City bankrolls Tory party Independent (hat tip reader May S)

Speculation is the main driver behind higher world food prices – the evidence is there in the data Clouded Outlook (hat tip Ed Harrison)

Tourre to argue US cannot try him for fraud Financial Times

Elizabeth Warren Is Expecting Your Call New York Times

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-02-09 at 3.43.27 AM

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  1. Anonymous Jones

    The Open Left article is important.

    Simple incentives subsume most of us. I am pure capitalist cog, running hotels and restaurants and having a pedigree as a despicable *attorney*, but I spare a little time to post mostly impotent rants against the power structure.

    That others ‘sell out’ for money is not a sign that their ideas are not relevant or have a greater (or lesser) relation to reality than others’ ideas, just that some ideas have a higher price in the ‘free market’ than others.

    I understood a long time ago that my ideas about the world didn’t ‘sell’. This doesn’t necessarily make my ideas less applicable (it might), but I get that most people really, really don’t want to see the world as I do, regardless of *how the world really is* (regardless of whether in fact the world really is that way or just *happens* to be how others so desperately wish it to be or just *happens* to be how others want to order their lives or just *happens* to be exactly in line with how others have lined up their immediate incentive-matrix).

    Whatever, the point I want to make is that fighting for what you believe in, even if in a very low-cost way as I do, is valuable. What Yves does is invaluable to me, and I hope that she realizes that whatever monetary compensation may be out there may not in fact be worth more than speaking what she sees as the truth.

    I have many, many times in my putrid life had to stifle my opinion so that my client, or my business, could make a buck. Who am I to judge myself or anyone else who makes this decision? I’m a hypocrite, highest among all hypocrites. Yet I still hope some have higher aspirations than I do. I hope that some can understand that all the things we are conditioned to like and crave are not as important as the trite old, preposterously hypocritical suggestion of Polonius, “to thine own self be true.” Yes, it doesn’t matter if Polonius was a ignoramus. And it doesn’t matter if I chose not to follow him, or if a million other chose not to follow him, he might just have been right. We might all be making the wrong choice. It *is* possible that we are correct on our death beds.

    So this may be Pollyanna-ish and stupid, but just fight. Fight on. We all end, and we all do stupid things, but at the same time, the most we can do is fight for what we think is right. And I doubt we will ever really regret standing up for what we think is right. Yes, we might be a bit (or a lot) more comfortable doing what is expedient, but I don’t see a lot of people being *happy* outside of doing what they really, really believe in. Mock it and try so desperately to make sure that what I’m saying doesn’t apply to you, but I kinda believe your antipathy is only a sign that I’m right. Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see. Or maybe the screen will turn black waiting for the credits, and we’ll never know.

    1. Skippy

      Excuse me…I found a spider in the shower, I’d like a full comp and a premium bath robe…thank you.

      BS aside, if humanity does not strive for something greater than its self (its greatness, in its own eyes)…well the fossil record awaits as it has for every other plodding creature, that only acted to satisfy its genetic wants (now substituted by marketing).

      Strangely the only creature we know of, that has had some control over its destiny, is trying to break the record for shortest lap around the joint, whilst taking every thing it can with it…FTW…literally…but *I got mine* will be the epitaph.

      Skippy…just think about the guys and gals having done 10+ years of rotation in the sandbox, like time travel, come back and nothing is the same forever, and for what, someones ideal of stability um price, political, ideological. Personally I don’t think this world can take much more effort to *stabilize it*.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        I can’t stand bath robes, but I’ll graciously give you a comp. Happy customers are a fulfilling way to sell one’s time.

        Skippy…comments from down under make me joyous about trying too hard.

        1. Skippy

          As an ex parking sales exec I have to agree with you on your elasticity statement with regards to the physical side but, what happens when its virtual.

          “comments from down under make me joyous about trying too hard.”

          Good on you, as we say down here when some one gets promoted or is awarded accolades…*when are you going too learn*.

          Skippy…its not about the system, its about the people running the system and how that interfaces with their charges, to what ends does everyone toil accomplish, self serving vanity or communal bonds. The flood down here showed me something I’ve never seen before, in all my worldly travels, some thing I can give my kids up too…freely and by choice.

    2. Bill

      @ Mr. A. Jones, thank you for this post today. As we Quakers say “It speaks to my condition.”

      I used to be in retail before going back to school to retool as a Clinical Psychologist, and my experience of retail is that it was for me “spiritually corrosive”.

      I don’t think that applies to everyone, but it was clearly not my calling.

      Perhaps you have not yet found your true calling… :) …….perhaps that’s ahead of you.

      An exciting thought for you I hope.

    3. albrt

      Problem number one for the allegedly leftist internet-based organizations is that there are too many of them. I supported a number of them when they started campaigns that seemed to make sense, and pretty soon I was getting ten emails a day telling me what I needed to be outraged about and where to send the money. None of them appeared to have any measurable impact, and now they all go to the spam filter.

      Problem number two is that these groups lost credibility when it became clear that the Democrats had completely sold us out on every issue across the board, even abortion coverage in the insurance industry bailout bill. Nobody could come up with a plausible alternative strategy except to keep being outraged, and please keep sending money to my little organization. Again, none of them appeared to have any measurable impact, and now they all go to the spam filter.

      1. Z

        Beyond the democratic party selling out on issues that the progressive blogs supposedly held so dear and the fact that none of these blogs had any effective strategy to “make them do it”, many of these blogs, and I’ll place openleft right on in there, turned face and ended up essentially promoting obama and the democratic party above those principles.

        Whatever you think about the public option, this was the perfect example. Many of these blogs, including openleft, put a lot of effort and emphasis on getting a public option in the health care bill … somewhat to their credit, becoz even a small a public option may have helped out with cost control … MAYBE … but then once obama betrayed them, his campaign rhetoric and his own rhetoric at the time, they acted like the public option was no big deal and that we should still support their precious party and the health care bill regardless.

        Their actions during that time … and again, openleft was right in with those groups … were very hypocritical. And in the end, many of these blogs essentially served as holding pens for the democratic party becoz their allegiance to the party was more important to them than it was to many of their principles.

        Note: Some of the openleft writers were very good and held strong to their principles and had no fealty to party, David Sirota in particular.


      2. ChrisTiburon

        The yardstick by which any progressive organization should be measured is, do they pay their executives a salary, and if they do, is it outlandish?

        The streets of our town have been thronged lately by
        enthusiastic young ‘volunteers’ wearing t-shirts representing and hustling money for the ACLU, “marriage equality”,CALPIRG, Oxfam etc.

        Turns out that they are all working for the same organization, GCI, or Grassroots Campaigns International, out of Berkeley. They make minimum wage and if they
        don’t make a quota of donations they are fired.
        The GCI makes a nice profit—and “probably” pays its ring leaders a lovely salary.
        Some small portion of the donations actually goes to the parent charity. This is the progressive equivalent of that other charitable pimp, The United Way.

    4. OregonChris

      Thanks for this Jones, it is very motivating. I think we should try not to spend much time judging people who “sell out”, but focus on doing the good that we can.

  2. Max424

    Damn, that’s amazing. I wish I could spell the letter S with my (ossified) neck.

    Too bad there’s no future on this lousy planet for birds, because they really are quite beautiful — in all their varied manifestations.

    Still, you have to be smart and ruthless, you gotta short em. Personally, I’ve taken out “going extinct” positions on most of our winged friends — and I expect I will get rich, as a result of their demise.

      1. Max424

        Subliminal adds, actually; imperceptible* pulsed word messages flashed only when punts neared their parabolic crest.

        Mass! Birds. Extinction! Short. The Birds! etc…

        Pretty cheap, too, only 10 grand per pulse/flash.

        *To everything… but the mind’s eye.

  3. Anonymous Jones

    OK, one more thing, people who don’t understand inelastic demand really, really haven’t had any experience in business. I mean, seriously, have you people had no experience in the housing market? I mean, seriously! You all need housing. I know this. You aren’t living in a f’ing tent if you are reading this blog.

    When there is short-term excess supply in the housing market, prices plunge!!! Apartment owners need to get to 90% occupancy almost any way possible! When there is short-term deficient supply, prices skyrocket!!! When occupancy is over 90%, apartment owners make you pay whatever you can afford! Have you really not noticed this? Seriously? Is this why I make all this money? Because you have *no* idea that this happens? I play the long-term elasticity against the short-term inelasticity. This in not f’ing rocket science.

    Well, guess what? This happens in the food market as well. You’ve seen the estimates on inelasticity in the grain demand, right? No? You haven’t paid any attention? Well, before you post a completely ignorant rant, I suggest you study up. Short-term inelasticity *is* important. Just a hint. You can believe what you want, or you can leverage against the overwhelming intransigence of those who continue to believe as you do now.

    Oh yeah, it’s the printing of money. Yeah, that measures up against the data, you’re right!!! Or not. I guess the data are irrelevant.

  4. russell12000

    Pretty odd that the Patriot Act extensions were at least in part bocked by the Tea Party members.

    I guess there are some positives to Obhama conspiracy theories.

  5. rjs

    re: Hudson Bay Still Not Frozen Solid…

    the best way to understand what has happened this winter is to think about what happens when you open your refrigerator; the cold air spills out on the floor, and warm air enters the top; that is analagous to what has happened over north america this winter, and, exacerbated by the el nino, last winter as well…large parts of baffin island, between greenland and canada proper, had a temperature exceeding 21C, or about 38F above normal, averaged over the entire month, an amazing amount to be sustained over an entire month…additional large parts of the canadian tundra were well over 10C above normal…there’s two problems i see here that this condition will exacerbate; first, we know that large amounts of frozen methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is frozen in the permafrost and is released when the permafrost thaws; by not freezing deeper this winter, it sets us up for a summer when this methane feedback accelerates…similarly, the east siberian ice shelf has methane-hydrates frozen at high pressures on the seabed floor, and as the water warms, it thaws & methane bubbles into the atmosphere, and east siberia has also been moderately warmer this winter…although overall not as important a greenhouse gas as CO2 because it’s quantities are a magnitude less, it’s increased presence in the atmosphere is accelerating more rapidly than CO2 is: pre-industrial CH4 was about .7 ppb and its now at 1.8 ppb…the other problem relates to the ice loss from greenland; the melt has been accelerating exponentially and is now twice what it was a recently as 2002; if one could take all the ice that had melted off greenland this past year and put it on top of new jersey, it would cover new jersey with 257 feet of snow…

  6. DownSouth

    Re: “Live from Cairo (17)” Lambert Strether

    Lambert Strether said: “Man, you can say that again.”

    Yep. Even the MSM seems to be confirming Strether’s observaton about the crowds in TS being “larger than ever.”

    And firsthand accounts of the massive repression taking place are now starting to leak out, such as the ones reported in this CNN News segment. It sounds like the number of those arrested and jailed by Mubarak’s security forces could number in the thousands.

    And in this interview Elliot Spitzer filets and serves up for lunch the Egyptian ambassador to the U.S., Sameh Shourkry.

    Heck, the repression has become so heavyhanded and so widespread, and the propaganda so detached from reality, that even Team Obama was forced to say something about it.

    In The Populist Moment Lawrence Goodwyn says that “mass democratic movements are overarchingly difficult for human beings to generate.”

    “The sequential process of democratic movement-building will be seen to involve four stages,” he continues:

    (1)the creation of an autonomous institution where new interpretations can materialize that run counter to those of prevailing authority—-a development which for the sake of simplicity, we may describe as “the movement forming”; (2) the creation of a tactical means to attract masses of people—-“the movement recruiting”; (3) the achievement of a heretofore culturally sanctioned level of social analysis—-“the movement educating”; and (4) the creation of an institutional means whereby the new ideas, shared now by the rank and file of the mass movement, can be expressed in an autonomous political way—-“the movement politicized.”

    I certainly wouldn’t presume to know what’s going on in Egypt, but it looks like the movement has now definitely moved beyond stage (1), but has not yet achieved stage (4).

    Goodwyn believes that the Populist movement was America’s last best shot at democracy, and when it was murdered any hopes for democracy in America were laid to rest beside it. So here’s my heartfelt wish that the Egyptians have better luck at achieving democracy than the Americans did.

    1. DownSouth

      Here’s an absolutely outstanding video report by Anderson Cooper that confirms Stether’s observations about the growing size of the demonstrations, but perhaps more importantly exposes in some detail the campaign of violence and propaganda unleashed by the Mubarak regime.

    2. DownSouth

      And here is more excellent reporting from CNN.

      Here is a segment with a graphic photo of one activist Egyptian security forces beat to death, of reports of numerous others who have been “disappeared” and the reaction from family members.

      Here is a segment of a NY Times reporter who was arrested and jailed by the Egyptian security forces. Even though she was not personally tortured or beaten, she could hear other persons in the prison who were.

    3. DownSouth

      And here is confirmation of the about face by Team Obama that Tom Ferguson reported on in his post here on NC yesterday:

      Reporter Barbara Starr: Middle East analyst Michele Dunne says the U.S. government message has changed from immediate action to a more protracted process, a process that is unclear.

      Michele Dunne: President Obama has been calling for a transition to begin now. On the other hand we heard Secretary Clinton a couple of days ago saying we support the process laid out by Vice President Suleiman which is not a process that the opposition has agreed to at all.


      Up until now the Obama administration was saying this had to be a negotiated transition, that the Egyptian government had to deal with the opposition and that the opposition had to be a partner so to speak in this transition. What Suleiman is offering now is not that at all.

      It appears Yves got it right when she said Ferguson “has VERY high level contacts,” and that his information was factually correct.

    4. DownSouth

      And here one can see an example of what Goodwyn called “the creation of a tactical means to attract masses of people—-‘the movement recruiting’ “ as the movement welcomes entirely new members and the movement continues to grow.

    5. Ina Deaver

      It was awhile back, but Mr. Spitzer used to be extremely good at eliciting statements from people, purely by verbal jockeying, that they later regretted. . . .it’s probably one of his highest uses as a human being.

  7. ballyfager

    I’ve been reading this blog, and many more like it, for years. Despite that, my understanding of economics leaves a lot to be desired.

    BUT, when you presumptively wiser heads start talking about global warming, or more specifically, ANTHROPOGENIC global warming, then I realize that you’re not all you’re cracked up to be.

    The very idea that mankind could have a significant effect on the climate is preposterous on the face of it.

    1. Skippy

      See any Island that has been significantly deforested and over resourced. On another note try the 200,000ish chemicals now string around in north America alone, with no one having any clue to future repercussions. That’s a bit of a fib, the signals are starting to show bit by bit.

    2. Toby

      Billions of years ago tiny little single-cell life forms almost destroyed themselves by filling the planet’s atmosphere with oxygen (if memory serves), their waste product. Due to an amazing act of symbiosis life found a way to transcend the problem and use oxygen as a fuel. The nucleated cell owes its existence to this accomplishment (if memory serves).

      We humans are doing roughly the same thing with carbon dioxide, our ‘multiple-waste’ product, only much faster than those wee critters of yore managed. What must we do to overcome our self-imposed extinction-threat? Change certainly, and in my opinion change our priorities away from monetary profit and towards sustainability.

      1. Cedric Regula

        “Due to an amazing act of symbiosis life found a way to transcend the problem and use oxygen as a fuel.”

        Yeast can function in an aerobic or anaerobic environment. In the anaerobic case, it metabolizes sugar and the waste product is alcohol. In the aerobic case it metabolizes sugar and the waste product is vinegar.

        I believe life on Earth owes it’s existence to brewers yeast.

          1. Cedric Regula

            Right. Thanks for the clarification. Missed that additional step in my practical observations.

            But I still believe our ancient ancestors are brewers yeast.

    3. wunsacon

      >> The very idea that mankind could have a significant effect on the climate is preposterous on the face of it.

      Not even with a never-happened-before 7 billion people on the planet, releasing carbon collected over millions of *years* in just the span of a century? On a planet where the depth of the atmosphere relative to the size of the planet is roughly proportional to the varnish on a toy globe relative to the diameter of the globe?

      Ozone? “Heat islands” around cities? Were these nonsense, too?

      Also, remember that we’re talking about the difference not of a few degrees of Fahrenheit/Celsius but a few degrees of Kelvin. So, a 10 degree temperature change is really just a couple of percent over our current temperature. Not “10 degrees over 70 degrees” or something. I.e., in percentage terms from absolute zero, the temperature change isn’t huge by scientists/astronomers’ standards. But, it is big for people living on the planet.

      Lastly, do you know the surface temperatures of Mercury and Venus?

    4. Lidia

      Your statement is what’s preposterous on the face of it.

      I live near a mountain that had been rather barren, until Mussolini decided that it needed to be forested. So he got people to plant what appear to be tens of thousands of beech trees, all in nice fascist rows.

      Before the forest was planted, it never used to snow on that mountain. Now it does, enough so that a small ski establishment has been built.

    5. sherparick

      Are you a climatologist? A Geophysicist? If so please explain why, other than your “FAITH” that you believe human activity could have no effect on the Earth’s climate. What is your mechanism for how the atmosphere remains stable when CO2, methane, and water vapor are all increasing?

      Really, it does not matter what you believe or not. We are starting to feel the consequences now and we will keep feeling them more with each passing year, especially the increase in more frequent severe heat waves and droughts and rising sea levels.

  8. DownSouth

    Re: “Live from Cairo (17)” Lambert Strether
    Lambert Strether said:

    The idea of a leaderless revolution emerges very clearly from AJ’s online coverage, and from interviews with Egyptians. The AJ anchors, however, keep pressing: Where are the leaders? Where is the strategy? Coverage in the West seems to focus almost entirely on the “emerging leader” narrative which, with Ghonim the Google exec, dovetails only too neatly with the “Facebook Revolution” narrative. Time will tell which narrative prevails, but it seems to me that if TS had actually “annointed” Ghonim as a leader, we’d be seeing him, well, lead. Which I thought might happen, but it didn’t!

    Perhaps this passage from Lawrence Goodwyn’s The Populist Moment can provide some intellectual and historical framework to better understand what’s going on in Egypt:

    Democratic movements are initiated by people who have individually managed to attain a high level of personal political self-respect. They are not resigned: they are not intimidated. To put it another way, they are not culturally organized to conform to established hierarchical forms. Their sense of autonomy permits them to dare to try to change things by seeking to influence others. The subsequent stages of recruitment and of internal economic and political education (steps two, three, and four) turn on the ability of the democratic organizers to develop widespread methods of internal communication within the mass movement. Such democratic facilities provide the only way the movement can defend itself to its own adherents in the face of the adverse interpretations certain to emanate from the received culture. If the movement is able to achieve this level of internal communication and democracy, and the ranks accordingly grow in numbers and in political consequences, a new plateau of social possibility comes within reach of all participants. In intellectual terms, the generating force of this new mass mode of behavior may be rather simply described as “a new way of looking at things.” It constitutes a new and heretofore unsanctioned mass folkway of autonomy. In psychological terms, its appearance reflects the development within the movement of a new kind of collective self-confidence. “Individual self-respect” and “collective self-confidence” constitute, then, the cultural building blocks of mass democratic politics. Their development permit people to conceive of the idea of acting in self-generated democratic ways—-as distinct from passively participating in various hierarchical modes bequeathed by the received culture. In this study of Populism, I have given a name to this plateau of cooperative and democratic conduct. I have called it “the movement culture.” Once attained, it opens up new vistas of social possibility, vistas that are less clouded by inherited assumptions. I suggest that all significant mass democratic movements in human history have generated this autonomous capacity. Indeed, had they not done so, one cannot visualize how they could have developed into significant mass democratic movements.

    Democratic politics hinge fundamentally on these sequential relationships. Yet, quite obviously the process is extremely difficult to maintain—-a fact that helps explain why genuinely democratic cultures have not yet been developed by mankind. Self-evidently, mass democratic societies cannot be created until the components of the creating process have been theoretically delineated and have subsequently come to be understood in practical ways by masses of people. This level of political analysis has not yet been reached, despite the theoretical labors of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and their sundry disciples and critics. As a necessary consequence, twentieth-century people, instead of participating in democratic cultures, live in hierarchical cultures, “capitalist” and “socialist,” that merely call themselves democratic.

    1. DownSouth

      Look at what Goodwyn said about the “subsequent stages of recruitment and of internal economic and political education” turn on “the ability of the democratic organizers to develop widespread methods of internal communication within the mass movement” and “If the movement is able to achieve this level of internal communication and democracy, and the ranks accordingly grow in numbers and in political consequences, a new plateau of social possibility comes within reach of all participants.”

      Then take a look at the level of internet traffic in Egypt as presented in this news report.

      Internet traffic is substantially higher now than it was before Mubarak shut down the internet.

      This is yet one more indication that the movement is growing and in the way Goodwyn theorized, and that internal communication is the lifeblood.

      First it was the printing press. Now it’s the internet.

      No wonder Lieberman wants his kill switch on the internet.

    2. attempter

      This is an interesting line of thought, one I was tossing around myself, although one must transpose the Populist model (i.e., a grassroots movement that gradually grew to a large size) from which Goodwyn induced his movement-building principles, to this example of a vast near-spontaneous effusion, which must now try to organize itself into a movement with staying power.

      If Goodwyn’s distillation is right, then they’ll have to organize their characteristic activities beyond their political demands. They’re already off to an excellent start there with the way they’ve organized food, water, medical care, sanitation, security. A movement can’t sustain itself on just political demands. It needs actions, especially economic actions. (That’s why it seems to me the relocalization movement is almost perfectly suited to follow an evolution like the one Goodwyn lays out, and why I read the book as a movement-building manual.)

      One thing Goodwyn and your comment emphasize which shine out from Egypt bright as the sun, is the political self-respect and self-confidence these democratic activists have built within themselves.

    3. lambert strether

      Downsouth, excellent quote. (And not to hijack Yves commenters, but why not get an account at Corrente?)

      Couple points before I go back:

      1. Communications tools are not Internet-dependent. When the Egyptian government shut it down, the movement didn’t skip a bit. From the photographs, I’m convinced that this ought to be known as “The SMS revolution,” if there must be a technical sobriquet; cell phones are ubiquitous.

      2. I don’t believe the movement was “spontaneous” in the slightest (which does not NOT NOT mean I believe there is a hidden revolutionary vanguard). There have been stray observations from several activists that say work really started in 2005-2006, and not even with this outcome in mind; that’s when the networking began, the networking in which they began to find themselves as individuals.

      1. attempter

        No matter how much clandestine communication goes on among a conspiracy in a police state, it’s still a great leap into the unknown when they try to go to the streets with it, and the whole character of the movement is born as if anew. That’s what I mean by spontaneous. No one had any good idea what was going to happen once they were out there.

        That’s what we long suspected about using online organization – it can help get people into the streets, but then the real action takes over. I’d bet that’s especailly true where it wasn’t possible to organize openly online.

  9. Yearning to Learn

    Interesting cancer article.
    That said, I think this statement is a bit strong: “I guarantee practice will be slow to change.”.

    There are always going to be laggards, and I guess it depends on what one means by “slow” to change, however I think that Yves is wrong here.

    Many practices are already starting to change, some before this study was even published. There were 155 medical groups involved in this study, and it is a good one. It will of course need confirmation at some point. In general one study does not make a law. but if the study is strong enough it is still enough to sway us. This one appears to be. (I haven’t parsed this study, but I am part of the committee that writes our hospital policy and heard this come up a few months ago tangentially).

    This is different by the way than a lot of studies that have been presented on NC. Unfortunately, I think many non-scientists don’t understand how to evaluate a study and apply it to a practice.

    Just like Gretchen Morgenstern botches financial reporting terribly, the various news agencies botch medical reporting…

    this is why, as example, you hear one day “Red wine is good for you” and the next “Red wine will kill you”. It is also the etiology of many of these fad diets. “Food XXX is a XXX booster!!!”

    The most famous recent example in my particular field was the terrible study done by Wakefield that caused people to fear the MMR vaccine. Most people didn’t understand that
    -there were only 12 kids in the study
    -the study itself never claimed causation, only temporal relation
    -the study was poorly run.
    -later on Wakefield was discovered to be completely unethical and performed ill advised and illegal testing on those 12 kids.

    all they read was the headline. “MMR vaccine linked to autism”

    similarly, there was never any good evidence that thimerisol (the so-called “mercury” in the vaccines) caused autism either. But people read the news and were convinced of it, so we took thimerisol out of basically all child vaccines in 2001. (the adult influenza vaccine still has thimerisol). Since then? Autism skyrocketed. Thus thimerisol clearly had little to nothing to do with autism.

    Try telling that to the NYT (or to most people) in 2001. Or even 2011.

    if we would have jumped on the NYT bandwagon and been “quick” to change we would have a generation of unvaccinated kids who still have autism.

    thus: one must be cautious to change. for legal reasons and also for health reasons.

    but I digress: this study looks pretty good and I anticipate change will occur due to it. not in every provider… but in many.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s easier to get precisely a 30% real estate price drop in a communist dictatorship than a free market capitalistic democracy.

      Lucky for China.

  10. lambert strether

    Bowers and Open Left were instrumental, along with Hamsher and FDL, in keeping single payer off the table in discourse on the left. They did this by never front-paging single payer advocates or events, and taking away accounts from those who advocated single payer as a policy. Even when Dr. Margaret Flowers and the rest of the Baucus 8 committed civil disobedience in Baucus’s Senate Hearing room and got arrested, because Baucus had no witnesses for single payer, there was no front-paging or any other sign of support. When operatives at the White House were proven to have censored their own Town Hall live blog to eliminate a reference to single payer, there was no link or even a mention. (Similarly, Hamsher ran a regular column deceptively called “Health Care News,” that never covered a single payer story, not once, and turned out to be “edited” by a lobbyist for HCAN.)

    I am not saying that single payer would have been passed, had Bowers and Hamsher operated from a stance of intellectual honesty and public purpose. I am saying that single payer would have been part of the ordinary, daily discourse on the left, and it is not, because career “progressives” like Bowers prevented that from happening.

    Therefore, I am extremely pleased that Open Left has folded. I can only hope Bowers does the same thing at a much larger Democratic meme laundry, Daily Kos: That is, corrupt and destroy it.

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