Links 6/26/11

Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain Runs Nonstop New York Times

Climate Change: It’s bad and getting worse Aljazeera (hat tip reader May S)

Roundup: Birth Defects Caused By World’s Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say Common Dreams (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

In Medicine, New Isn’t Always Improved New York Times (hat tip reader Robert M). The fact that this is news to most people is one of the big reasons health care costs are out of control in the US.

Martori Farms: Abusive Conditions at a Key Wal-Mart Supplier TruthOut. “Abusive” is inadequate.

The great Church art sell-off runs into trouble Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Special report: Japan’s “throwaway” nuclear workers Reuters (hat tip Richard Smith). Wow, this is ugly.

What Happened to Media Coverage of Fukushima? Common Dreams (hat tip reader May S)

More reports of cannibalism in North Korea Asian Correspondent (hat tip reader Tim C)

Germany’s season of angst: why a prosperous nation is turning on itself Globe and Mail (hat tip reader Tim C)

Greece, Schengen, Nato – it’s time to admit the European dream is over Guardian

Has the Revolution Left Egypt’s Workers Behind? Time (hat tip reader Paul T)

How Capitalist is America? Mark Roe, Project Syndicate (hat tip Richard Smith). I managed to miss this, and it makes a good argument (not of the usual “we’ve socialized the banking system” sort).

All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup Mother Jones (hat tip Richard Smith). Frankly, this has been evident since the late 1990s (remember how the workaholism of dot coms was romanticized? At the same time, everyone I knew in Corporate America was being asked to work 1 1/2 jobs, and it’s now turned into 2). But the piece has stats.

Upgrading Skype and Silver Lake to Evil Felix Salmon (hat tip reader Tim C)

Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush New York Times (hat tip reader Robert M)

American Distrust Of Banks Reaches Highest-Recorded Level: Gallup Huffington Post. Sheesh, I thought the stats would be worse.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. bob

    “There are implications for the environment, too. The technology used to get gas flowing out of the ground — called hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — can require over a million gallons of water per well, and some of that water must be disposed of because it becomes contaminated by the process.”

    All of the water they use is contaminated, only some of it comes back up. The rest they leave in the well.

    1. Everythings Jake

      We are destroying the ecosystem on which life depends in the pursuit of short-term profits. It is suicidal. Denial (which may be a short-term evolutionary advantage) will turn out to be the most significant human trait, but since we’ll be extinct, there’ll be no one around to prove the case.

  2. Foppe

    Supreme Court Hands Drug Companies Twin Wins

    The U.S. Supreme Court handed the pharmaceutical industry two major victories on Thursday.

    In one case, a First Amendment decision, the court, by a 6-to-3 vote, struck down a Vermont law that barred the buying, selling and profiling of doctors’ prescription records — records that pharmaceutical companies use to target doctors for particular pitches. And in a second, the court ruled 5 to 4 that the makers of generic drugs are immune from state lawsuits for failure to warn consumers about possible side effects as long as they copy the warnings on brand-name drugs.
    It also marked the court’s first excursion into data-mining — the practice of collecting and processing vast amounts of information.

    The case arose in the context of federal and state regulations that require pharmacies to keep records of all doctors’ prescriptions. Pharmacies can, and do, sell those doctor prescription records to data-mining companies, with patient identifiers removed. And the data-mining companies, in turn, sell the information to drugmakers for use in targeting sales pitches at doctors, in an effort to get them to prescribe more brand-name drugs — drugs that are more expensive than generic drugs.

    1. ambrit

      My Dear Foppe;
      I’ve run up against that one myself. When I told the doctor I could prove his new ‘wonder drug’ had tested out at the same level of effectiveness as the old one I was using, (none of my stats had changed, either,) he gave me the ‘use it or lose it ‘ option. I changed MDs.

  3. Foppe

    And to respond to the cannibalism reports from NK. I recently read Snyder’s Bloodlands, and he has this to say about cannibalism in the Ukraine in the 1930s (because of Stalin’s policies):

    Survival was a moral as well as a physical struggle. A woman doctor wrote to a friend in June 1933 that she had not yet become a cannibal, but was “not sure that I shall not be one by the time my letter reaches you.” The good people died first. Those who refused to steal or to prostitute themselves died. Those who gave food to others died. Those who refused to eat corpses died. Those who refused to kill their fellow man died. Parents who resisted cannibalism died before their children did. Ukraine in 1933 was full of orphans, and sometimes people took them in. Yet without food there was little that even the kindest of strangers could do for such children. The boys and girls lay about on sheets and blankets, eating their own excrement, waiting for death.

    In one village in the Kharkiv region, several women did their best to look after children. As one of them recalled, they formed “something like an orphanage.” Their wards were in a pitiful condition: “The children had bulging stomachs; they were covered in wounds, in scabs; their bodies were bursting. We took them outside, we put them on sheets, and they moaned. One day the children suddenly fell silent, we turned around to see what was happening, and they were eating the smallest child, little Petrus. They were tearing strips from him and eating them. And Petrus was doing the same, he was tearing strips from himself and eating them, he ate as much as he could. The other children put their lips to his wounds and drank his blood. We took the child away from the hungry mouths and we cried.”

    Cannibalism is a taboo of literature as well as life, as communities seek to protect their dignity by suppressing the record of this desperate mode of survival. Ukrainians outside Soviet Ukraine, then and since, have treated cannibalism as a source of great shame. Yet while the cannibalism in Soviet Ukraine in 1933 says much about the Soviet system, it says nothing about Ukrainians as a people. With starvation will come cannibalism. There came a moment in Ukraine when there was little or no grain, and the only meat was human. A black market arose in human flesh; human meat may even have entered the official economy. The police investigated anyone selling meat, and state authorities kept a close eye on slaughterhouses and butcher shops. A young communist in the Kharkiv region reported to his superiors that he could make a meat quota, but only by using human beings. In the villages smoke coming from a cottage chimney was a suspicious sign, since it tended to mean that cannibals were eating a kill or that families were roasting one of their members. Police would follow the smoke and make arrests. At least 2,505 people were sentenced for cannibalism in the years 1932 and 1933 in Ukraine, though the actual number of cases was certainly much greater.

    Yet cannibalism was, sometimes, a victimless crime. Some mothers and fathers killed their children and ate them. In those cases the children were clearly victims. But other parents asked their children to make use of their own bodies if they passed away. More than one Ukrainian child had to tell a brother or sister: “Mother says that we should eat her if she dies.” This was forethought and love.

  4. aletheia33

    since reading the arizona state penitentiary story, these women who have died of what can only be called homicide carried out by their guards and supervisors have been keeping me constant company. what has happened to the souls and consciences of the people who are directly responsible that they cannot enact the least concern for those they supervise or guard? the immediate harm to the victims is unconscionable; the dehumanization of the prison and farm employees by their employers is equally horrific. what kind of “invisible” gulag has already been established in america?

    1. Externality

      what kind of “invisible” gulag has already been established in america?

      A large one that drawfs the prison farm discussed in the article.

      Federal Prison Industries, also known as Unicor or FPI, is large corporation owned by the federal government that uses prison labor to manufacture goods such as furniture and military hardware. Its sales nearly doubled after President Clinton greatly escalated the War on Drugs during the mid-1990s:

      UNICOR is economically self-sustaining and receives no government funding. In fiscal year 1996, UNICOR had net sales of $459 million. In fiscal year 2008, UNICOR employed 21,836 inmates: 17% of eligible inmates held in federal prisons. The company generated US$854.3 million in sales. Of these revenues, 80% went toward the purchase of raw material and equipment; 16% went to staff salaries; 4% went to inmate salaries.

      UNICOR has 109 factories in federal prisons, producing about 175 different types of products and services, including clothing and textiles, electronics, fleet management and vehicular components, industrial products, office furniture, recycling activities; and services including data entry and encoding.


      Critics say Federal Prison Industries pays substandard wages, and that inmates work subject to conditions and salary the company itself decides. Under current law, all physically able inmates who are not a security risk or have a health exception are required to work, either for UNICOR or at some other prison job. Inmates earn from US$0.23 per hour up to a maximum of US$1.15 per hour, and all inmates with court-ordered financial obligations [e.g., fines] must use at least 50% of this UNICOR income to satisfy those debts.

      One report detailed a FPI operation at a California prison in which inmates de-manufactured computer cathode-type monitors. Industry standard practice for this mandates a mechanical crushing machine to minimize danger from flying glass, with an isolated air system to avoid releasing lead, barium, phosphor compounds to the workplace atmosphere. At the FPI facility prisoners smashed the CRTs with hammers. The report noted, “Smashing CRTs with hammers is not a common practice in the private sector, nor could it ever be considered a ‘best practice.’

      (footnotes omitted)

      From the government’s perspective, non-violent offenders who will get out in a few years are the best source of prison labor. They have an incentive to cooperate and are less likely to use their work tools to attack the guards.

  5. Rex

    Re: The TV Box power consumption

    This is very true, and I think very fixable.

    A year or two back I used a “Kill a Watt” ™ device to measure how much electricity various devices around my house were consuming. I have a Dish Network DVR and I was shocked to see how much power it sucks even when “turned off” and not recording any shows in the background.

    The engineers of these things have clearly given no consideration to energy usage in the designs. As the article states, my box runs near full tilt all the time. Cars and PCs thought about it and made big changes ten or more years back. I am certain the DVR could improve as much as the PC did, with very little cost impact on the unit, if only they felt the pressure to value such changes.

    I thought about “unplugging” (or externally switching off) the DVR when I knew it had nothing to record for many hours. One problem with that is that the current stupid design requires many minutes after power up to drink coffee with all the satellites (or something) before it will give a signal to the TV. It is many times worse than starting my PC after a power failure.

    These TV boxes really do need to be forced to get more energy efficient.

    1. bob

      Video game systems are the worst. Because of piracy, they still rely on having the original CD/DVD/Blueray. If they were to put them onto the hard drive in these machine it would be much less power intensive, but much easier to copy.

      DRM, costing you more in power everyday.

    2. Samana

      “These TV boxes really do need to be forced to get more energy efficient.”

      If you look outside yourself for the solution to your problems you will only create more problems.

      Have you asked yourself why your DVR is more important than the environment your will bestow upon your children?

    3. lambert strether

      Improving TV power drain is like smoking filtered cigarettes.

      What people ought to be doing is getting rid of the TV entirely. The ads are a public health hazard, and why pay rent to Big Media?

      “But what about Masterpiece Theatre?!” Well, you’ll find better things to do. And one excellent way to deal with the rentiers is to defund them. One victim at a time.

      1. rd

        Halfway there.

        We totally eliminated cable a year ago and just rely on over the air TV using a small indoor antenna. Very little of the cable or over-the-air programming is worth watching, even though there are are about a dozen over the air channels available.

        Estimated monetary savings – about $60/month before the power drain is accounted for.

        DVDs from the public library, WiFi Netflix, and the occasional RedBox rental more than fulfills our TV needs.

        The only thing that I really miss is some of the sports on ESPN and ESPN2.

        1. aletheia33

          when a certain number of folks have slashed their cable, then maybe we’ll get some action.

    4. Jim

      No one that has a DVR at home has any business asking working class families to pay higher energy prices, whether it be via Cap and Trade, Carbon Tax or an increase in the Gasoline Tax.

      This means you, Thomas Friedman, and any other Technocrat who believes that he knows what’s good for the working class more than the working class itself.

      1. rd

        Similarly, I don’t want to hear any complaints about global warming or US wars in the Middle East from anybody who drives an SUV or other large vehicle, even if they are “hybrid”. Other than some farmers, construction workers, or real outdoorsy types there is no need for anything more than a mid-sized sedan. Good winter tires on a sedan offer similar benefits to 4-wheel drive in the winter and actually provide better stopping in icy conditions.

        Also, people who helicopter or private jet around need not apply (calling Mr. Gore). Similarly, people who are designing joy rides into space (Mr. Branson)should not be offering opinions on “sustainability”.

  6. Susan

    Interesting quote from one of the many “industry insider” emails posted in NYT article about fracking:

    “I am afraid we have a bunch of 25 year old analysts driving the boat and people who should know better looking the other way while peeling off part of the pie. Once more the entire Oil Industry will take the fall for this screw up when the driving factor is the money coming from Wall Street….”

    This is from page 10 of the documents.

  7. JamesG

    I can’t wait for the New York Times management to announce a crash program to eliminate paper-based newspapers.

    Here’s a summary of what’s involved. Someone else can estimate the carbon cost.

    1. Kill trees.

    2. Convert wood to newsprint.

    3. Transport newsprint from Canada to New York City area.

    4. Distribute newspapers across NYC in gasoline-powered trucks making multiple stops every day seven days a week.

  8. Susan

    I don’t think we can be coy about the population any longer. This is no longer the giddy American Century, full of anticipation and deaf to everything else. People actually ridiculed Paul Erlich (Population Bomb) because his message undercut economic enterprise and all those glossy prospectuses. But he was right. What we have endured for 50 years (overpopulation denial) has not only ruined the planet, it has ruined our spiritual core. We-the-People committed a great collective crime – we went against our own conscience. And we did it willingly. Tthis cheap indictment doesn’t take into account all of the corporate immorality that was unleashed because of this denial. Can anyone think TEPCO without getting nauseated? Gettin’ ahead at all hidden costs.

    We are now faced with two sobering realities: The population-growth (ponzi scheme) used as an engine for both “socialism” and “capitalism” has produced a devastated planet with 7bn mouths to feed. And worse: Global population has peaked (is peaking) so that in order to power new “growth” we must look beyond consumerism. (Don’t tell Larry Summers.) Beyond profit, in other words, at a time when profit has become sacred, and resources scarce. Whatever we choose we’ll be damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

    1. Externality

      And the groups that did lower the birth rates to below replacement, i.e., Europeans, East Asians, White Americans, and Native Americans, have been scolded by American elites for a decade that they were “too selfish” to have children and will now suffer for that decision.

      Low birth rates, the elites claim, are forcing massive cuts in social spending, undermining retirement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, damaging the economy, and “force” the elites to open the borders of Europe and the US to mass immigration in order to prevent population shrinkage and labor shortages. The US allegedly needs immigrants with very high birth rates to make the country sustainable. (Contrast this with Erlich’s claim that “210 million [Americans] now is too many and 280 million [Americans] in 2040 is likely to be much too many.” The current US population is 307 million, with most population growth coming from mass immigration that American elites insist we also need.)

      The media (e.g., NYT, WSJ, and especially CNN) constantly remind Americans that White Americans had too few children, are therefore becoming a minority, and are unlikely to receive SSA since future, majority non-White, generations should not and will not pay for elderly Whites’ retirement benefits.) Future generations have learned a valuable lesson: do not depend on the government for your retirement or for advice on family size.

      1. Externality

        Should be:

        And the groups that did lower their birth rates to below replacement, i.e., Europeans, East Asians, White Americans, and Native Americans, have been scolded by American elites for a decade that they were “too selfish” to have children and will now suffer for that decision.

    2. Lo schema di Ponzi

      ponzi scheme) used as an engine for both “socialism” and “capitalism” has produced a devastated planet with 7bn mouths to feed. And worse: Global population


      Expanding population drives all pyramidal schemes higher until population contracts. The gigantic contraction now looming up ahead is the contraction induced by Peak Natural Resources. About half of us will live to see its horror.

      Good luck

  9. Anonymous Jones

    Oh, Felix Salmon!

    He sometimes says the most incredibly stupid things.

    What about the following sentence is incomprehensible: “Consequently, this means that you shall receive no value in respect of any of the shares underlying your Options”?

    I think even my youngest nephew (6yo) could understand that.

    People should really stick to talking about things they really understand. Felix, polymath? Surely, this is some kind of a cosmic joke.

    And yes, the word ‘evil.’ I’m not saying that the people who drafted this document did not set out with the intent to deceive. It’s probably true that they did, but they also *covered their ass* with that quote I put in above. That’s what people in business do. That’s what my clients always wanted. You think when someone is selling a piece of land, they point out to the buyer everything in the PSA that is not in the buyer’s best interest? I mean, this is life, right? I’m not justifying it, but the idea that this is some kind of noteworthy exception to how business gets done in this country? It’s not an exception; it’s the rule!

    Read your documents. I don’t care how long they are. The person who drafted the document is *not* your friend. Any assumption you make that they are doing something in your best interest is stupid and naive. It’s pretty clear that most people actually make more money taking value from others than creating value. Most business is predicated on extracting a bigger piece of the pie than making the pie bigger. That’s how this works. We good now?

    Seriously, it’s me?

    1. sidelarge

      The assertion that such a low radiation cause immediate deaths like that is just nonsense to begin with. That kind of sensationalist crap is exactly what blurs all the REAL issues surrounding Fukushima. You are basically giving ammos to those who want to put a lid on it and be done with it by spewing nonsense like that, and giving them the open invitation to paint you as tinfoil wearing conspiracy theorists.

  10. Hubert

    Globe and Mail about Germanys season of Angst
    There is so much BS in this article that I do not know where to start. so just a few points:
    1) “Greek bailout, which will cost German taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros, and in the widespread public resistance to a larger solution to the Greek crisis (which would entail rebuilding Greece, perhaps with a united European fiscal plan, so it would no longer be a country prone to debt and crisis)”. First, numbers matter: IN the end, we are talking about a loss of 40-80 billion (not hundred of millions) not hundred of millions. And the loss is only partly through the bailout, mostly through granting these stupid loans and buying this fraudulent bonds in the first place. And the “rebuilding Greece” part is pretty naive too – maybe the Greeks should take part in that too. Or shall we again send instructors, this time from Brussel instead of East-Prussia?
    2) “Not taking part in Lybia”: Is there a more blatant imperialist endeveour? Is this Afganistan thing not stupid enough already ? With our history ?

  11. Hubert

    3) “Prosperous Nation” – what a piece of crap. Exports up but all the money lost, gambled away, mostly by the state banking sector. Hundred of billions. Bankers live well. Normal People though are really in trouble here to meet their bills. Wages stagnant for 10 years; hidden inflation especially in groceries. And high energy costs. Electricity very expensive. A few companies do well and the upper crust of state employees are living fine – but the nation is anything but prosperous. Not to mention the hidden losses in all the banks which will have to fall onto taxpayers rather sooner than later …..
    4) “Crisis of Trust”: Well, looking at the facts, what would you rationally expect ? And the most shocking facts are hidden in bad banks and government accounting. Wait until these come out… “Wutburger” – if they only were. Have yet to see a taxpayer demonstration in Berlin. Sheeps all of them, to be slowly slaughtered by this goverment or the next one.
    5) “Expert in right-wing populism” – is there a more phony titel possible?
    6) “Germany’s prosperity is built on high levels of immigration” – wrong as there is mostly no prosperity in the first place. And what is here, was not built on immigration. Looking forward, without immigration the model will break down; but breaking down it shall anyway. Demographics matter especially if one is bankrupt.
    7) “Manufacturing” mostly does not need many people going forward. Most of it is in Eastern Europe already anyway.
    8) Mr Bilger: Idiot or A..hole? Professional politician, so I would guess the latter.

    1. DownSouth

      Yep. I got the same impression.

      They had to work mighty hard to miss the elephant in the room, which has a name and well documented track record. It’s called neoliberalism. Expect more and more of these flights into fantasy and irrationality as the real perpetrators of this scourge on humankind cast about for distractions and scapegoats.

      Bank bailouts on the taxpayers’ dime are part of the neoliberal package, but the part that probably causes more angst than anything else is this:

      Net real wages in Germany have hardly risen since the beginning of the 1990s. Between 2004 and 2008 they even declined. This is a unique development in Germany-never before has a period of rather strong economic growth been accompanied by a decline in net real wages over a period of several years. The key reason for this decline is not higher taxes and social-insurance contributions, as many would hold, but rather extremely slow wage growth, both in absolute terms and from an international perspective. This finding is all the more striking in light of the fact that average employee education levels have risen, which would on its face lead one to expect higher wage levels. In contrast to the prevailing wage trend, income from self-employment and investment assets has risen sharply in recent years, such that compensation of employees makes up an ever shrinking percentage of national income. Inflation-adjusted compensation of employees as a share of national income reached a historic low of 61% in 2007 and 2008. As in previous recessions, however, investment income has been under greater downward pressure in recent months than wages.
      Real Wages in Germany: Numerous Years of Decline

      1. Ransome

        Adam Smith separated economic activities into two parts, the gold-seekers and the national wealth creators. Labor was the wealth of nations. The cult of the gold-seekers IS neoliberalism, gold-seeking without borders, without regulations, without restrictions as profits are maximized in any way. Labor is a cost that must be minimized in a trickle down money flow. Labor gets the dregs.

        Where did Germany’s wages go? Check the profits of the bankers.

        The EU has a flaw. In America, Connecticut does not bailout New York, but we share a common currency that enhances commerce. Gold-seeking banks tied the EU into a Gordian knot. Gold-seeking money centers tied America’s housing into a Gordian knot. There is a problem with bigness. There is a benefit from a State bank system, profiting the State from the surplus value of the wealth creators using local labor, rather than cross border gold-seeking. When the gold-seekers share is returned to the workers and money trickles up, the State and the wealth creators will prosper, especially when the goal of 100% employment is reached with the additional advantage of the stimulating economic multiplier. Growth and worker prosperity will be unavoidable. The German people will feel in control of their future. The Greek politicians will wear no clothes until they balance their budget by focusing on wealth creation with 100% employment, rather than the customary gold-seeking.

  12. Pelle Schultz

    Re: Roundup (glyphosate)-

    Evidence that it actually causes birth defects–outisde of applying massive doses to cell lines in petri dishes–so far is pretty weak. The research referenced in that article is clearly poorly designed and agenda-driven, and was going to find a negative effect come hell or high water.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t a hazard, particularly applied in massive doses. It may well be as harmful as table salt, if the latter was applied in similar doses.

    Don Huber’s work mentioned there is not directed at the same issue, but rather at the idea that excessive use of glyphosate allows a particular bacterial strain to thrive, which in turn may cause miscarriages in mammals. Very tenuous connection at best.

    I am all for good science, but this does not qualify.

  13. Valissa

    Expert: Corruption breeds battle of ethics, economics

    Robert Schmidt, Ph.D., 28, of West Scranton, received his doctorate degree in sociology from SUNY Binghamton in 2010. He is currently working to transform his dissertation titled “Revitalization and its Discontents: The Political and Symbolic Economy of Post-Anthracite Scranton” into a book.

    “My basic argument is that rather than attracting industry, politics has sort of become our venue of attracting economic development through public subsidies,” Schmidt said Friday. Politics, he contends, is an essential component of the economy of Northeastern Pennsylvania and has been so for so many years. It has now come to the point that the culture exists independent of the area and its residents.

    “Public employment is the most coveted form of livelihood around here because it’s the most secure. I would much rather work as a public employee in a secure, unionized job than I would in private employment where it’s insecure and you don’t know if the job is going overseas,” he said.

    “Because our economy is geared towards using politics as a venue, people aren’t in a position to overthrow this system of graft and corruption. People don’t want to overthrow it. They want a greater portion of it.”

    Great practical discussion of “structural problems”… and a good example of an academic doing useful research. The older I get, the more respect I have for the field of sociology.

  14. Valissa

    The American Police State is the ‘New Normal’

    I know this is not news to the folks that read this blog. What’s interesting is that this article was written by a ‘Yahoo contributor’ (not a reporter) and is currently the most emailed story at Yahoo News. I think many people are hungry for more reality, and less fluff & propaganda.

    Apparently anyone can signup to be a Yahoo News Contributor Seems like Yahoo has learned something from the Huffington Post.

  15. Francois T

    Re: North Korea

    As long as the Chinese refuse to do anything right about NK, this nation will continue its descent into Hell until it IS the face of Hell.

    Mind you, there would be a simple way to blow up Kim Jung-whatever: Have some UAVs equipped with the very best surveillance hardware and hover at high altitude over the North Korean death camps. Manage to get as many gory details as possible and mount a campaign that would inflame passions and generate unstoppable revulsion the world over.

    It is past due time that this stain on the human race that is the North Korean regime be destroyed.

  16. Francois T

    Re: Medicine

    If the FDA was allowed to do its job without constant interference from Congress acting on behalf of the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, we, the patients, would stand a fighting chance of receiving better care.

    That said, it is true that “newer is better” mentality is deeply ingrained in the American psyche, and nowhere is it more obvious than in medicine. The ugly truth of the matter that no politician can talk about, unless he/she’s suddenly possessed of an overwhelming desire to commit political seppuku is this: Americans have their head stuffed with nonsensical beliefs about health care that is contrary to evidence-based medicine.

  17. Francois T

    Re: Medicine

    If the FDA was allowed to do its job without constant interference from Congress acting on behalf of the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, we, the patients, would stand a fighting chance of receiving better care.

    That said, it is true that “newer is better” mentality is deeply ingrained in the American psyche, and nowhere is it more obvious than in medicine. The ugly truth of the matter that no politician can talk about, unless he/she’s suddenly possessed of an overwhelming desire to commit political seppuku is this: Americans have their head stuffed with nonsensical beliefs about health care that is contrary to evidence-based medicine.

  18. Ep3

    Re: more hours, less pay @ mother jones

    Yves, I know of a family here in Lansing michigan where the husband works for a local office of a midwestern accounting firm. He is mid to high level management and during tax season this year, he slept on his couch at work, tho very little, and now the husband/wife are divorcing because the family can’t handle those hours. Now I know you have probably seen this extensively in the big world. But why does it have to be this way? Why can’t we hire one of these unemployed persons, or promote someone in the company and hire two unemployed persons so this guy can go home to his family? I guess I could understand if he was making multimillions or had the fate of the universe in his hands. But really, he doesn’t. This guy, and others just like him, are doing this because a) they know if they fail, there’s always someone else waiting on the sidelines willing to throw away 2-3 years of their lives living at work. B) I also think tho that this person thinks that “if I work just one more season like this, somebody is gonna know and promote me to the big time and then I can take it easy”. But I think if he did get promoted, he would get put in another job that would work him just as hard until he strokes out or has a heart attack. Then, we just throw him in the ground and someone else takes over for him.
    Nobody cares that we are breaking up a family, possibly causing emotional damage to his children, definitely him and his wife. It’s all about money. It’s like the pharaohs have returned. If someone fell in the path of a big block and was gonna impede productivity by the block movers having to stop and move this person, they would just crush them and move on. The economy can’t stop while an old woman crosses the road. It’s more financially beneficial to run her over.

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