the quickies archive. The newer quickiesJune 2005
A 73-year-old Kenyan grandfather reached into the mouth of an attacking leopard and tore out its tongue to kill it...-MSNBC
Peasant farmer Daniel M’Mburugu was tending to his potato and bean crops in a rural area near Mount Kenya when the leopard charged out of the long grass and leapt on him....
The leopard sank its teeth into the farmer’s wrist and mauled him with its claws. “A voice, which must have come from God, whispered to me to drop the panga (machete) and thrust my hand in its wide-open mouth. I obeyed,” M’Mburugu said.
The American Psychiatric Association on Monday sharply criticized actor Tom Cruise for televised remarks in which he called psychiatry a "pseudo science" and disputed the value of antidepressant drugs.-Yahoo News
"It is irresponsible for Mr. Cruise to use his movie publicity tour to promote his own ideological views and deter people with mental illness from getting the care they need," APA President Dr. Steven Sharfstein said in a statement.
"Before I was a Scientologist, I never agreed with psychiatry," Cruise said. "And when I started studying the history of psychiatry, I understood more and more why I didn't believe in psychology. ... And I know that psychiatry is a pseudo science."
Disputing the effectiveness of antidepressants generally, Cruise said, "all it does is mask the problem." He added, "There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance."
Members of the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) barged into a club where the Miss Waria [transvestite] 2005 contest was taking place.-BBC News
FPI leader Soleh Mahmud said: "Before Allah punishes us with a second tsunami here in Jakarta, let us ask the police to disperse this event."
Nixon and Kissinger met in the Oval Office on the morning of Nov. 5, 1971, to discuss Nixon's conversation with Gandhi the day before.-Yahoo News
"We really slobbered over the old witch," Nixon told Kissinger, according to a transcript of their conversation released as part of a State Department compilation of significant documents involving American foreign policy....
"The Indians are bastards anyway," Kissinger told the president. "They are starting a war there."
Kissinger also told his boss that he had bested Gandhi in their meeting.
"While she was a bitch, we got what we wanted too," Kissinger said. "She will not be able to go home and say that the United States didn't give her a warm reception and therefore in despair she's got to go to war."
I just recently read Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. It's all about relating the self-referentialness of all three of their lives' works to how the human conciousness runs. It's terribly interesting, but a real hard read, I did a 20 page paper on it last semester. I got a B- (even though she called my paper well written and intelligent).-Metafilter
posted by Mach5 at 6:58 AM CST on June 29 [!]
Achilles: What, they haven't mentioned Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid?.
Tortoise: Well, they did say the new black. Hofstadter is rather old school.
Achilles: Do tell. Old school or not, it remains an excellent treatise on the subject, and it keeps up in work.
Tortoise: Heavens, yes, and there's no arguing that. Still, though, it's to be expected. "The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here," after all.
Achilles: Drat. You're right again, Mr. T.
Tortoise: ?. On preview, it looks like we've be trumped.
posted by eriko at 7:01 AM CST on June 29 [!]
Well ... Mach 5 has to be faster than either a Tortoise or Achilles.
posted by TimothyMason at 7:15 AM CST on June 29 [!]
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is important in terms of showing that nuclear fusion can save the world from fossil fuels that cause pollution. Nuclear fusion does not emit gases that create the greenhouse effect and produces nuclear waste at a very low rate. The ITER models the solar energy production pattern and aims to create an inexhaustible low cost energy source by using seawater.-Zaman
Mr Bush's second term is not going well. The most visible disaster remains Iraq: the euphoria of the January election has worn off, six out of ten Americans want to bring their troops home and he has failed to get much help from the Europeans. His secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, is (correctly) beating the drum for democracy in the Middle East; but the face of American justice remains the internment camp at Guantánamo Bay, which Mr Bush seems unsure whether to close. A new Pew survey of global attitudes to the United States (see article) shows hearts and minds are not being won.-Economist
Things are also going badly at home, where his approval ratings have dipped below 45% (see article). The president has spent weeks on the road, flogging his ambitious plan to overhaul the Social Security system—and nobody seems to be buying it. This week, the ever less loyal Republican Congress again held up the nomination of John Bolton, his proposed ambassador to the United Nations. Mr Bush has had to postpone his efforts to reform the tax code, and he is struggling to hold down government spending, after his first-term splurge, and also to get through a tiny Central American trade deal.
Sometimes bombings and invasions have been cloaked as international action by bringing in the United Nations, as in Korea, or NATO, as in Serbia, but basically our wars have been American enterprises. It was Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, who said at one point, “If possible we will act in the world multilaterally, but if necessary, we will act unilaterally.” Henry Kissinger, hearing this, responded with his customary solemnity that this principle “should not be universalized.” Exceptionalism was never clearer.-Howard Zinn
Some liberals in this country, opposed to Bush, nevertheless are closer to his principles on foreign affairs than they want to acknowledge. It is clear that 9/11 had a powerful psychological effect on everybody in America, and for certain liberal intellectuals a kind of hysterical reaction has distorted their ability to think clearly about our nation’s role in the world.
In a recent issue of the liberal magazine The American Prospect, the editors write, “Today Islamist terrorists with global reach pose the greatest immediate threat to our lives and liberties. . . . When facing a substantial, immediate, and provable threat, the United States has both the right and the obligation to strike preemptively and, if need be, unilaterally against terrorists or states that support them.”
Preemptively and, if need be, unilaterally; and against “states that support” terrorists, not just terrorists themselves. Those are large steps in the direction of the Bush doctrine, though the editors do qualify their support for preemption by adding that the threat must be “substantial, immediate, and provable.” But when intellectuals endorse abstract principles, even with qualifications, they need to keep in mind that the principles will be applied by the people who run the U.S. government. This is all the more important to keep in mind when the abstract principle is about the use of violence by the state—in fact, about preemptively initiating the use of violence.
His funeral in April 1980 provoked an outpouring of grief more usually associated with actors than with ugly, chain-smoking, foul-smelling, squint-eyed philosophers. More than 30,000 people took to the streets of Paris to follow his coffin and - in the phrase of one fan at the time - to "demonstrate against Sartre's death".-Independent
For the next two decades, Sartre's standing fell (and Beauvoir's, if anything, rose). Sartre's many mistakes and inconsistencies - his support for Stalinism in the early 1950s, for Maoism in the 1970s, his defence of civilian massacres in Algeria and at the 1972 Munich Olympics - obscured the range, versatility and ambition of his writing.
His reputation as one of the most important thinkers and writers of the 20th century is now rising again, not so much in France as - paradoxically - in high academic circles in the United States, a country that he detested.
Jean-Paul Sartre's many attempts to define what human "freedom" means are attractive to the black, female or radical academics who have formed the North American Sartre Society. Sartre provides them with an intellectual antidote to the glib and often self-serving use of words such as "freedom" and "liberty" by the dominant political and media culture of their own country.
In his speeches, George Bush regularly calls for a return to or the reinforcement of traditional, even eternal, family values and emphasizes the importance of personal "accountability" for our children as well as ourselves. ("The culture of America is changing from one that has said, if it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else, to a new culture in which each of us understands we are responsible for the decisions we make in life.") And yet when it comes to acts that are clearly wrong in this world - aggressive war, the looting of resources, torture, personal gain at the expense of others, lying, and manipulation among other matters - Bush and his top officials never hesitate to redefine reality to suit their needs. When faced with matters long defined in everyday life in terms of right and wrong, they simply reach for their dictionaries.-Tom Engelhardt
You want to invade a country not about to attack you. No problem, just pick up that Webster's and rename the act "preventive war." Now, you want an excuse for such a war that might actually panic the public into backing it. So you begin to place mushroom clouds from nonexistent enemy atomic warheads over American cities (Condoleezza Rice: "[W]e don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."); you begin to claim, as our President and other top officials did, that nonexistent enemy UAVs (Unmanned Airborne Vehicles) launched from nonexistent ships off our perfectly real East coast, might spray nonexistent biological or chemical weapons hundreds of miles inland, and - Voila! - you're ready to strike back.
You sweep opponents up on a battlefield, but you don't want to call them prisoners of war or deal with them by the established rules of warfare. No problem, just grab that dictionary and label them "unlawful combatants," then you can do anything you want. So you get those prisoners into your jail complex (carefully located on an American base in Cuba, which you have redefined as being legally under "Cuban sovereignty," so that no American court can touch them); and then you declare that, not being prisoners of war, they do not fall under the Geneva Conventions, though you will treat them (sort of) as if they did and, whatever happens, you will not actually torture them, though you plan to take those "gloves" off. Then your lawyers and attorneys retire to some White House or Justice Department office and, under the guidance of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales (now Attorney General), they grab those dictionaries again and redefine torture to be whatever we're not doing to the prisoners. (In a 50-page memo written in August 2002 for the CIA and addressed to Alberto Gonzales, Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, now an Appeals Court judge, hauled out many dictionaries and redefined torture this way: "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.") And if questioned on the subject, after emails from FBI observers at the prison lay out the various acts of abuse and torture committed in grisly detail, the Vice President simply insists, as he did the other day, that those prisoners are living the good life in the balmy "tropics." ("They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want. There isn't any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we're treating these people.")
The LAPD can't fight crime effectively unless probation and parole run smoothly. Nor can you make a real dent in crime without an ear to the ground in jails and prisons, where much of what happens on the streets is orchestrated. And without effective rehabilitation and reintegration strategies, far too many ex-cons end up in a revolving door of incarceration and release that endangers their neighbors as well as police.-Constance Rice
...None of this can happen within the LAPD's current culture. The force you now command has many strengths, but it also has an insular, rigid and retaliatory culture that, unless changed, will doom it to repeat its past failures. The LAPD has always shot down demands for change. If reversing crime waves requires creative, data-driven, community-savvy cops, then you have no choice but to aggressively change the department.
The men had held the girl for seven days, repeatedly beating her, before the lions chased them away and guarded her for half a day before her family and police found her, Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo said Tuesday by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, some 560 kilometers (348 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa.-CNN
"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Wondimu said, adding he did not know whether the lions were male or female.
News of the June 9 rescue was slow to filter out from Kefa Zone in southwestern Ethiopia.
"If the lions had not come to her rescue then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage," he said.
I confess to being shocked and appalled both at the thought that the average American could be that ignorant, and at the thought that the situation is so hopeless that informed, intelligent people really believe it doesn't make that much difference which of the two oligopoly parties wins. I suspect the average Canadian would find either possibility almost unimaginable. After all, we have more than two parties, and the one in power now has a minority and as a result its legislative agenda has been dramatically altered by the need to get support from other parties to stay in office. We are so alarmed at the possibility of the Bush-loving Canadian neoconservative party (which recently took over the more established, moderate conservative party) getting into office that we hold our nose and tell pollsters we would vote for the modestly corrupt Liberal party, as the significant lesser of two evils. And Canadians have repeatedly shown enormous skepticism for what they hear in the Canadian media, and a proclivity for making up their own minds after discussion with peers, rather than after watching or listening to the ten o'clock news. Are Canadians really that different from Americans?-Are Americans Politically Ignorant, Apathetic, or Both?
If Kennedy is right, and the majority of Americans are that ignorant (unable or unwilling to hear information that would dramatically affect their vote), or if this third group of cynics is right, and a large minority of Americans are so skeptical that they don't think it matters which party wins anyway, the neocons win either way. Ignorance and apathy both mitigate against change. If you're in power and you can breed both in the electorate, you're laughing.
The state of Tennessee has begun an investigation in response to allegations of child abuse at Love in Action, a Memphis facility that advertises homosexual conversion therapy for adolescents, according to the state department of health.-Southern Voice [metafilter]
K. Daniele Edwards, a spokesperson for Child Services at the Tennessee Department of Health, confirmed an investigation is underway but declined to comment on the details. She noted that she presumes the Love in Action program would require licensing by the state.
Love in Action is not licensed by the Tennessee Departments of Health, Mental Health, Human Services, Child Services or Education, according to Rachel Lassiter of Gov. Phil Bredesen's communications office.
Refuge, Love in Action's program for adolescents, became the focus of public concern earlier this month after a Bartlett, Tenn., teen who uses the blogger name Zach, posted online entries that say his parents had responded to his coming out as gay by sending him to a religious institution to be converted to heterosexuality.
The House debate fell along familiar lines over whether the amendment strengthened the Constitution or ran afoul of its free-speech protections.-Yahoo News
Supporters said there was more public support than ever because of emotions following the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. They said detractors are out of touch with public sentiment.
"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the Trade Center," said Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif. "Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment."
Critics accused the amendment's supporters of exploiting the attacks to trample the right to free speech.
"If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents." said Rep. Jerrold Nadler...
The proposed one-line amendment to the Constitution reads, "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." For the language to be added to the Constitution, it must be approved by two-thirds of those present in each chamber, then ratified within seven years by at least 38 state legislatures.
CENSORED BY US GOVERNMENT 18 USC 2257-Gapingmaw.com
Yes, that is correct. The wonderful things that used to be here, the very funny things that you want to read, have been made retroactively illegal by the US government, in a side-handed attack on the pornography industry.
We might mention that the material here isn't even pornography as you normally think of it -- this site is just adult humor, in essay format, with some illustrations. The government is mandating that we meet certain bookkeeping requirements, ones impossible to meet for this site. Never mind that those requirements do not actually gain the public anything. This is the strongest attack on free speech since the passage of the CDA, and oddly, the media seems to have hardly noticed. The penalty for not abiding by these bookkeeping requirements is five years prison.
The regulations were promulgated by Alberto Gonzales, US Attorney General appointed by George Bush. If you voted for Bush, this is your fault. If you think this country is free, you are sadly mistaken. No nation has freedom when it is run by religious zealots.
Regulations effective 24 June 2005.
The new rules, which are updates to regulations that date back to 1992, require porn promoters and distributors to maintain records proving their models and actors are over the age of 18, instead of signed forms and other loose documentation. In an announcement last month, Gonzales said the new rules "are crucial to preventing children from being exploited by the production of pornography." Although seemingly innocuous and for a good cause, the rules have suddenly forced the freewheeling trade to either find and organize legal documents for every performer engaging in sex, remove the pictures, or face jail time of up to five years for the first offense and up to ten years for additional offenses.-Forbes
To keep "proper records" under the new version of 2257 (and avoid steep fines or jail time), you must maintain files that contain every single erotic image or film you've published, cross-indexed with age-verification papers for every single performer in them. These records must be kept for seven years. That's a hell of a lot of hard drive space if you run a porn site that posts streaming videos. It's also a logistical nightmare for any site that does reviews of adult movies or erotic material. Republishing an erotic image - even if you're doing it simply for the purposes of criticism - requires you to keep the same age-verification records as the people who created that image. The law also applies to any Web site that posts "lascivious" images of naked people or people engaging in "sexual activity."-Alternet
But wait - there's more. Any site affected by 2257 must also publish a physical address that serves as its "place of business." Someone must be available at that address 20 hours a week just in case a law enforcement officer wants to gain access to those 2257 records. This doesn't seem too onerous if you imagine a Penthouse.com or Vivid Video type of operation. But consider all the mom-and-pop adult Web sites run out of private residences, or Webcam girls who don't turn the cam off when they take someone to bed. These rules mean that your local Webcam girl and our friends over at sex blog Fleshbot.com must publish their physical addresses online, thus leaving performers and writers vulnerable to stalking and harassment. But hey, it's a great full-access wank pass for cops who can't afford to pay for really primo porn sites every month.
Rove, in a speech Wednesday evening to the New York state Conservative Party just a few miles north of Ground Zero, said, "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Conservatives, he said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."-CNN
I've discussed monster making before, and this is simply one more step in the process. It doesn't do you any good to make a monster if you don't scare your audience with it. That's what Rove was doing, playing to the crowd who actually believe that lefties and liberals (Democrats) really want them to die in terrorist hellfire, and rejoice at the thought of drinking the still warm blood of our service people. "Our", in this context, means that the services belong to the Republicans, the White House, and those who agree with Rovian/Bushian objective. Its a simple message, "support us or be a monster".-Wulfgar!
Karl Rove's un-American attacks on those who disagree with him deserve the condemnation they're receiving. I've known him for 20 years, and I'm not surprised he said them. He's a socially inept but patient thug whose willingness to haunt the nation's dark political alleys for years, waiting for the right time and the right victims, is too often taken for unparalleled political intelligence.-Glen Smith
Being attacked by Rove is a little like being criticized by the Boston Strangler. At least you know you're alive. If we want to understand Rove, maybe we should get an FBI profiler.
Since Mike Norton, of Layton, began displaying the pictures of American soldiers killed in Iraq on an illuminated sign in his front yard, his home has been vandalized, cars have stopped in front of his home and honked horns in the early morning hours and he has received anonymous harassing phone calls.-Salt Lake Tribune
Now the city of Layton has gotten into the act.
Norton, who was told by a city official last winter that the sign in his yard did not violate zoning ordinances, received a letter from the Layton City Attorney's Office recently informing him that, upon further review, the sign does violate the ordinance and he would have 10 days to take it down.
The sign currently contains 1,715 postage-stamp-sized pictures of each dead soldier that Norton downloads from CNN's Web site. The number is updated whenever there is a new casualty. Above the pictures is a large bold-faced headline denoting the latest number of Americans killed in Iraq. Next to the sign is an American flag.
Norton says that by day, many people, including veterans, stop by and thank him for keeping the sacrifices of the soldiers and their families in the public eye. But by night he is harassed by anonymous antagonists, including one who shined a spotlight into his 6-year-old daughter's window.
While previous research has found that strong social networks help older people live longer, the work had not distinguished between contact with friends or relatives.-New Scientist (Journal of Epidemiological and Community Health (vol 59, p 538))
The new study followed almost 1500 Australians, initially aged over 70. Those who at the start reported regular close personal or phone contact with five or more friends were 22% less likely to die in the next decade than those who had reported fewer, more-distant friends. But the presence or absence of close ties with children or other relatives had no impact on survival.
Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League has accused artist Hans Haacke of "trivializing the Holocaust" by creating analogies between Mayor Giuliani and Adolph Hitler. Said Foxman, the work "denigrates the memory of six million Jews and others who were killed by the Nazis."-Sam Smith
Foxman's contribution to the Giuliani campaign illustrates the growing confusion over the nature of fascism, spurred in no small part by a form of historical revisionism that essentially reduces the Second World War to a matter of anti-Semitism. In some ways this revisionism is more dangerous than the claim that the Holocaust never happened, since the denials are safely on the fringe while the myth that fascism is inexorably linked to anti-Semitism is widely held.
One of the reasons we have such difficulty perceiving our current conditions is our aversion to this single word: fascism. While there is no hesitation by politicians to draw parallels with the Holocaust to justify whatever foreign adventure appeals to them, or for the media to make similar analogies at the drop of swastika on a wall, we seem only able to understand -- or even mention -- the climax of fascism rather than its genesis. Why this reluctance? Perhaps it is because we are much closer to the latter than to the former.
In any case, it is one of the most dangerous forms of political myopia in which to indulge. Italians, who invented the term fascism, also called it the estato corporativo: the corporatist state. Orwell rightly described fascism as being an extension of capitalism. It is an economy in which the government serves the interests of oligopolies, a state in which large corporations have the powers that in a democracy devolve to the citizen. Today, it is no exaggeration to call our economy corporatist, which has been described by British academics R.E. Pahl and J. T. Winkler as a system in which the government guides privately owned businesses towards order, unity, nationalism and success."
They tell us the memo wasn't news because everybody understood that George W. Bush had decided to wage war many months before the United States and its allies invaded Iraq. The memo wasn't news because anyone who didn't comprehend that reality back then has come to realize the unhappy facts during the three ensuing years. The memo wasn't news because Americans already knew that the Bush administration was "fixing the intelligence and facts around the policy," rather than making policy that reflected the intelligence and the facts about Iraq.-Joe Conason, A Press Coverup
Only a very special brand of arrogance would permit any employee of the New York Times, which brought us the mythmaking of Judith Miller, to insist that new documentary evidence of "intelligence fixing" about Saddam's arsenal is no longer news. The same goes for the Washington Post, which featured phony administration claims about Iraq's weapons on Page 1 while burying the skeptical stories that proved correct.
If you listen to those mooing most loudly, such as the editorial page editors of the Post, the Downing Street memo still isn't news because it doesn't "prove" anything. (Only a Post editorial would refer to Sir Richard Dearlove, the chief of Britain's MI6 intelligence service who reported the fixing of intelligence to fit Bush's war plans, as merely "a British official.") Certainly it proves much about the candid views held by the most knowledgeable figures in the British government. Evidently the Post's editorialists would rather not learn what else the memo might prove if its clues were investigated.
How foolish and how sad that all these distinguished journalists prefer to transform this scandal into a debate about their own underachieving performance, rather than redeem mainstream journalism by advancing an important story that they should have pursued from the beginning. This is a moment when the mainstream press could again demonstrate to a skeptical public why we need journalists. Instead they are proving once more that their first priority is to cover their own behinds.
Speaking to the question of impeachment, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., asked point blank, "Has the president misled, or deliberately misled, the Congress?"-David Paul Kuhn, Just Hearsay, or the New Watergate Tapes?
The answer is at the heart of Conyers' push for further investigation. Misleading Congress is an impeachable offense, and Conyers' petition for an inquiry into the memo seemed a first step in that direction -- though no one made that call outright.
"Many of us find it unacceptable to put our brave men and women in harm's way, based on false information," Conyers said. Though most of those at the forum voted against the war in Iraq, Conyers, who is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, insisted that the forum was not partisan politicking, but a function of their oversight duty.
As members of Congress crammed into the small room, no bigger than 30 by 50 feet, Democratic representatives spoke and then scurried out to make scheduled votes. After being denied a hearing, then forced to the basement, which Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., called unprecedented, the Democrats believed Republicans had purposely scheduled 11 votes to interrupt the forum.
"Absolutely, it was absolutely timed," McDermott said in an interview after the forum. "There was no need to do it then. And they were having a major appropriations hearing at the same time. That was also to keep people away, because appropriations are your chance to get money for your district that you've been working all year on."
In the Capitol basement yesterday, long-suffering House Democrats took a trip to the land of make-believe.-Dana Milbank, Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War (what David Swason calls "perhaps the worst piece of journalism I've ever seen.")
They pretended a small conference room was the Judiciary Committee hearing room, draping white linens over folding tables to make them look like witness tables and bringing in cardboard name tags and extra flags to make the whole thing look official.
Rep. John Conyers Jr., center, and other Democrats held a mock Judiciary Committee hearing as a protest against the war in Iraq.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) banged a large wooden gavel and got the other lawmakers to call him "Mr. Chairman." He liked that so much that he started calling himself "the chairman" and spouted other chairmanly phrases, such as "unanimous consent" and "without objection so ordered." The dress-up game looked realistic enough on C-SPAN, so two dozen more Democrats came downstairs to play along.
I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank's June 17 report, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post's only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious.-John Conyers, Jr.
In an inaccurate piece of reporting that typifies the article, Milbank implies that one of the obstacles the Members in the meeting have is that "only one" member has mentioned the Downing Street Minutes on the floor of either the House or Senate. This is not only incorrect but misleading. In fact, just yesterday, the Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, mentioned it on the Senate floor. Senator Boxer talked at some length about it at the recent confirmation hearing for the Ambassador to Iraq. The House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, recently signed on to my letter, along with 121 other Democrats asking for answers about the memo. This information is not difficult to find either. For example, the Reid speech was the subject of an AP wire service report posted on the Washington Post website with the headline "Democrats Cite Downing Street Memo in Bolton Fight". Other similar mistakes, mischaracterizations and cheap shots are littered throughout the article.
The article begins with an especially mean and nasty tone, claiming that House Democrats "pretended" a small conference was the Judiciary Committee hearing room and deriding the decor of the room. Milbank fails to share with his readers one essential fact: the reason the hearing was held in that room, an important piece of context. Despite the fact that a number of other suitable rooms were available in the Capitol and House office buildings, Republicans declined my request for each and every one of them. Milbank could have written about the perseverance of many of my colleagues in the face of such adverse circumstances, but declined to do so. Milbank also ignores the critical fact picked up by the AP, CNN and other newsletters that at the very moment the hearing was scheduled to begin, the Republican Leadership scheduled an almost unprecedented number of 11 consecutive floor votes, making it next to impossible for most Members to participate in the first hour and one half of the hearing.
Russian space agency officials said Cosmos 1, the world's first solar sail spacecraft, failed to reach space yesterday.-National Geographic News
Agency spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko told the Associated Press in Moscow that the Volna booster rocket that carried the spacecraft failed 83 seconds after it was launched from a Russian nuclear submarine under the Barents Sea.
"The booster's failure means that the solar sail vehicle was lost," he said.
The four-million-dollar (U.S.), joint mission was the brainchild of the Planetary Society, a nonprofit group of space enthusiasts based in Pasadena, California.
Equipped with eight windmill-like Mylar sails, Cosmos 1 was designed to harness the power of solar winds—the stream of charged particles emitted by our sun.
After all these years, I am convinced that public television could yet be the core curriculum of the American experience. E.D. Hirsch in Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know lamented that our schools no longer are teaching young people the essential ingredients of a general education. "To grasp the words on a page," he said, "we have to know a lot of information that isn't on the page." He called this knowledge "cultural literacy," and described it as "that network of information all competent readers possess." It's what enables us to read a book or an article with an adequate level of comprehension, getting the point, grasping the implications, reaching conclusions: our common information. Some people criticized Hirsch on grounds that teaching the traditional literature culture means teaching elitist information. That is an illusion, he says; literature culture is the most democratic culture in our land; it excludes nobody; it cuts across generations and social groups and classes; it's what every American needs to know, not only because knowing it is a good thing but also because other people know it too.-Bill Moyers, A Moral Transaction
This was the Founders' idea of an informed citizenry: that people in a democracy can be entrusted to decide all-important matters for themselves because they can communicate and deliberate with one another. "Economic issues can be discussed in public. The moral dilemmas of new medical knowledge can be weighed. The broad implications of technological change can become subjects of informed public disclosure," writes Hirsch. We might even begin to understand how - and for whom - politics really works. A few years ago, we produced a special on money and politics. We showed how private money continues to drive public policy and how our campaigns have become auctions instead of elections. As the broadcast came to a close, we put on the screen the 800 number of a non-partisan group called Project Vote Smart. When you call the number, they send you a printout showing the campaign donors to every representative in Congress. In response to that one broadcast, almost 30,000 Americans got up from their chairs and couches, went over to their phones and dialed the number!
The threats of funding cuts to public broadcasting have come amid revelations of the increasing politicization of the CPB. Under its mandate from Congress, the CPB is required to act as an independent buffer between lawmakers and public broadcasters. But this week, National Public Radio reported that they had obtained emails from a CPB official that showed that CPB Chair Kenneth Tomlinson had conferred with the White House in hiring decisions and in shaping policy at the corporation. In past interviews, Tomlinson has said that the White House does not interfere with CPB.-Democracy Now!
Last year, he secretly paid more than $14,000 to an outside consultant, to monitor the political content of the guests on the PBS program NOW with Bill Moyers. The consultant, Fred Mann, worked for the American Conservative Union for many years.
And earlier this month, it was revealed that a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee is Tomlinson's favored candidate to take over as President of the CPB. Patricia de Stacy Harrison is currently a high-ranking official at the State Department. She was co-chair of the RNC from 1997 until January 2001, helping to raise money for Republican candidates, including George W. Bush. The vote on the position is expected to take place today.
Yesterday, sixteen senators signed a letter urging President Bush to remove Tomlinson from his position. The senators wrote, "We strongly disagree with your Administration's decision to appoint an individual to head a not-for-profit corporation such as public broadcasting who is actively undermining, under-funding, and ultimately undoing its mission."
In June 2002, a group of men gang-raped Mukhtar Mai near her home in Pakistan. The rape was ordered by her local tribal counsel as punishment for a crime allegedly committed by her 12-year-old brother. After her rape, Mukhtar Mai was forced to walk home nearly naked before a jeering crowd of three hundred onlookers.-Democracy Now!
According to The New York Times, on average, a woman is raped every two hours in Pakistan, and two women a day die in so-called honor killings. Most of the cases go unnoticed, but Mukhtar Mai defied tradition by fighting back against her attackers in the courts. She testified against them. A number of them were convicted and sent to prison. With the compensation money she received, she opened elementary schools in her village.
Last week, Mukhtar Mai was back in the headlines when the Pakistani government barred her from leaving the country in an attempt to block her from publicizing her case. Amnesty International had planned to bring her to the United States. On the eve of her trip, she was detained by Pakistani government officials and placed under house arrest. The government then apparently tried to intimidate her by ordering the release of the 12 men connected to her rape.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf admitted that he had ordered Mukhtar placed on the no fly list, telling reporters "I don't want to project a bad image of Pakistan." But her detention had the opposite effect, sparking international condemnation. The Pakistani government now says Mukhtar Mai is free to travel wherever she wants. But there is one small problem - they confiscated her passport. Once again, Mukhtar Mai is refusing to be silent and is speaking out to the local and international media about her case. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes, "President Musharraf may have ousted rivals and overthrown a civilian government, but he has now met his match - a peasant woman with a heart of gold and a will of steel."
Africa is a massive $272 billion worse off as a result of 'free' trade policies forced on the continent as a condition for receiving aid and debt relief. According to new research from Christian Aid, poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa have lost billions of dollars worth of business over the past twenty years after being forced to open their markets to imports. The amount Africa has lost is equivalent to a sum large enough to wipe out all Africa's debt and enable every child in the world to be sent to school and vaccinated. . .-TPR
Ever have trouble visualizing how the solar system is put together, how the orbits work, how everything is positioned relative to everything else? This site helps you see how we think it all fits together.-Metafilter
I want to work as a Phone Sex operator. Your advice, please.-Ask Metafilter (gets responses from those in the field)
In 1978, Michel Foucault went to Iran as a novice journalist to report on the unfolding revolution. His dispatches — now fully available in translation — shed some light on the illusions of intellectuals in our own time.-The Boston Globe
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has acknowledged that security in Iraq has not improved statistically since Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003. Mr Rumsfeld told the BBC insurgents crossed Iraq's "porous" borders from Iran, Syria and elsewhere. But he said Iraq's military forces were growing in numbers and he was confident the insurgency would be defeated. . .-BBC
...a German and Swiss collaboration that have successfully treated patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), an immune deficiency, by removing bone marrow-derived stem cells from the patients, inserting the working copy of the target gene, and then replacing the modified cells. The modified stem cells multiplied successfully and the patients started producing NADPH oxidase. One of the two patients is even able to stop taking preventative antibiotics. This is an encouraging success, although it is still early days for this field.-Ars Technica
In other gene therapy news, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are working on a possible treatment for cystic fibrosis that uses a hybrid virus to deliver a working version of the CTFR gene to the lungs of sufferers of this disease. Controversially, the hybrid virus contains proteins from both HIV and Ebola! The HIV proteins are effective in delivering genes, and the Ebola protein help target the lung epithelial cells. If they gain ethical approval to begin trials in humans the outcome could be very interesting.
The U.S. military is now working hand-in-glove with paramilitary forces from the so-called "Wolf Brigade"--an armed militia of 20,000 formed in October 2004 by former members of Saddam Hussein's secret police and Republican Guard. Appropriately, James Steele, the U.S. commander working with the Wolf Brigade, is a Special Forces leader who trained right-wing death squads in El Salvador during the 1980s.-Counterpunch
In its brief existence, the Wolf Brigade has become notorious for using beatings, kidnapping and murder to extract confessions--even hosting its own (U.S.-approved) television show "Terrorists in the Grip of Justice," displaying bruised and battered Iraqis confessing to various acts of "terrorism."
Europe's oldest known civilization discovered. Archaeologists have discovered an ancient civilization of temple builders that existed in central Europe between 4800BC and 4600BC -- over 2000 years before Egypt. They constructed over 150 geometrically, astronomically, and spiritually aligned temples (translated) out of earth and wood, that had diameters of up to a half a mile. They were built by a people who lived in villages centered around communal longhouses of up to 150 feet in length. Their civilization raised large herds of animals, gathered grain with primitive sickles, made tools out of of stone, bone, and wood, manufactured pottery decorated with geometric designs (.pdf), and created small clay figurines of humans and animals. Only one male figurine has been found so far (.pdf) -- the rest have been of women with large breasts -- fertility symbols -- which suggests a fertility-based spirituality, and possibly a matriarchal society.-Metafilter
Researchers have been studying the children of gay and lesbian parents for almost 50 years, trying to find out if they have more problems than other kids. Do they have more behavior problems, a harder time making friends, or difficulties with sexual identity? The answer, time and again, has been a resounding "No."
Our whole social system rests upon the fictitious belief that nobody is forced to do what he does, but that he likes to do. This replacement of overt by anonymous authority finds its expression in all areas of life: Force is camouflaged by consent; the consent is brought about by methods of mass suggestion.- Erich Fromm
If we speak about love in contemporary Western culture, we mean to ask whether the social structure of Western civilization and the spirit resulting from it are conductive to the development of love. To raise the question is to answer it in the negative.-Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving [The strange metafilter thread where the quote was stripped.]
A new study in Health Affairs takes up an issue often neglected in debates over health care, but quite important: namely, the underinsured. These people have coverage, but it's usually inadequate, leaving them vulnerable to high out-of-pocket costs and often forcing them to forego essential care. About 12 percent of adults, some 16 million, fell into this category in 2003, which can be tacked onto the estimated 45 million without insurance at all. Most of the underinsured were either minorities, had low incomes, or were sick.-Mother Jones
The other big story here is that the vast numbers of underinsured are the result of an increasing trend in America. Employers, wracked with health care costs, are responding by pushing more and more of the financial burden for coverage onto the workers themselves, whether that includes higher deductibles, patient cost sharing, or restricting benefits. As a result, many workers are left without adequate coverage, and end up seeking out less care in the end. (Cost-sharing, almost by definition, hits the poor and the sick the hardest.)
Dr. ’Asaam al-Raawi, a sedimentary geologist at Baghdad University, sweeps his hand across a set of dog-eared journals, the arc of his gesture revealing a bare laboratory with a few slices of rock samples strewn around, a sagging chair, a dripping sink. The room is long and narrow. There’s barely enough space for a colleague, carrying a tray of glasses filled to their chipped rims, to squeeze past al-Raawi. Returning to his meager collection of journals and books, al-Raawi gestures in frustration.-Letter From Bagdad
“I am a university professor,” he says. “I need books!”
In consumer democracies, the unsustainable logic of the system is built into the very personal habits and aspirations of the majority-a lifestyle of consumption. The more democracy spreads globally, including to China, the more the retail sanity of freely consuming individuals will add up to wholesale madness.- The Future Is Upon Us, by Nathan Gardels
From a political perspective, the ecological imperative is thus distinctly impractical: The consumer classes will have to downsize their appetites while the aspiring must de-industrialize their desires. The globalized middle class will have to reduce their footprint while the advancing steps of the localized poor will have to become greener.
As one alternative, the German ecological thinker Wolfgang Sachs has argued for a new paradigm of development that secures "livelihood rights" rather than promotes an export-led industrialization strategy to reduce poverty. For Sachs, poverty derives from a deficit of power rather than a lack of money. Far from being needy persons awaiting provisions, the poor must be seen as citizens who are constrained by lack of social and political leverage. Any attempt to mitigate poverty will thus have to be centered on a reinforcement of rights and opportunities. This is particularly true of women who are often legally marginalized.
Addicted prostitutes repeat an endless cycle on Colfax. First they turn tricks to get the drugs; then they need the drugs to turn the tricks. Chrysalis is designed to break that cycle, taking drug- and alcohol-addicted prostitutes who've been arrested at least three times and offering them treatment instead of jail time. The treatment is provided by the Empowerment Program, a nonprofit that's been helping women for twenty years. Empowerment executive director Carol Lease worked with Adam Brickner, then the director of Denver's Office of Drug Strategy, to create the Chrysalis plan. "It came about because there was a movement in the community," Brickner remembers. "The vision of this task force was simple, but laden with potential: Prevention works, treatment is effective, recovery happens."-Tricks or Treatment: Breaking the cycle of addiction and crime., by Luke Turf
Every once in a while we're like, "Oh, we in the newspaper business are supposed to report, you say? Well, check this out, bitches." Then we drop some mind-blowing reporting bomb in our column that the editors at the Rocky and the Post pass around at meetings for weeks afterward, saying, "You see this? This is exactly the kind of stuff you guys should be coming up with."-What's So Funny, By Adam Cayton-Holland
This week is no exception.
Utilizing many of the same skills that helped us earn enough merit badges to obtain the rank of Webelo -- aside from the "Secret-Keeping Badge," one that we have yet to see on another scout, despite Scoutmaster Jenning's assurances -- we got our hands on a top-secret document: Ward Churchill's response to the withholding of his Teaching Recognition Award.
A U.S. Senate committee approved a proposal last night from President Bush for an additional $80.5 billion to fund the war in Iraq. At the same time, it voted against a proposal from Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to investigate the numerous allegations of fraud and profiteering by military contactors in the war-ravaged nation.-Halliburton Watch
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the new spending package without significant debate. The full Senate is expected to approve it within a month.
At least ten military audits have criticized Halliburton's Iraq spending. At one point, Pentagon auditors reported that 43 percent of the company's expenditures could not be verified by normal accounting procedures. Nevertheless, the Pentagon ignored the auditors' complaints and agreed to pay all the costs to Halliburton anyway. Moreover, the FBI is investigating complaints by a senior Pentagon official who said the Army illegally favors Halliburton's KBR subsidiary during the bidding process for Iraq contracts.
...'My book included the plot for The Da Vinci Code. But I was not being a prophet. It was old occult material. It was already all there. I treated it in a more sceptical way than Dan Brown did. He had the excellent idea of treating it as if it were true. Millions of people believed him. They took it seriously, but it was all a hoax.'-Interview with Umberto Eco
The Da Vinci Code is one of the few novels to have sold more than The Name of the Rose, I point out. Must be quite galling, that. He shrugs. Has he read it? 'Yes.' Did he like it? He shrugs again. 'It's a page-turner.'
The Vatican was not keen on Foucault's Pendulum, by all accounts. Its official newspaper described it as being full of 'profanations, blas-phemies, buffooneries and filth, held together by the mortar of arrogance and cynicism'. Even the late Pope condemned Eco personally as, 'the mystifier deluxe'. Is it true he was all but excommunicated?
'No. The whole affair was nothing but an invention of the newspapers that needed to have an Italian Salman Rushdie.'
Salman Rushdie, interestingly enough, described Foucault's Pendulum as 'humourless, devoid of character, entirely free of anything resembling a credible spoken word and mind-numbingly full of gobbledygook of all sorts'....
There’s demagoguery, and then there’s shameless demagoguery.-pm carpenter
So You're Being Tortured To Death In An American Military Prison!-Here's a Q&A from fafblog
The Old Testament prophet is not a soothsayer who predicts the future; we can leave soothsaying to those who are hired to peer into the entrails of the political system and assure its rulers that their profits are safe for another fifty years. The prophet's task is not to second-guess the future but to point out that unless we mend our ways, the future will be either remarkably unpleasant or nonexistent. Utopia is not about some impossible perfection--that tedious right-wing charge--but quite the opposite: a social order that tolerates the inevitably partial, finite, defective nature of human affairs. If we perish, it will not be of failure or finitude but of breathless, bright-eyed idealists for whom the sky's the limit. Most of these are known as Americans.-The Nation
As a Jew, Marx was attentive in his own secularized way to the Mosaic ban on idolatrous images, a ban about which Picture Imperfect is particularly illuminating. In fact, the future author of The Communist Manifesto began his political career in contention with what one might call "subjunctive" utopian thinkers--the "wouldn't it be nice if" brigade who feel free to dream up ideal schemes because their fantasies never need to face the pressure of reality. We cannot legislate for the future, not least because it is not ours, but the people's, to create. Dreams of the future, as the Frankfurt School reminded us, too often confiscate the very political energies that are necessary for their realization.
Despite his US citizenship, Christopher Hitchens should be considered the finest English critic of his generation—of the literary, not just political, type- David Herman
...President Bush has named conservative California Congressmember Christopher Cox to run the Securities and Exchange Commission. His appointment is considered a great victory for big corporations who have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Cox over the years. Cox replaces William Donaldson, who disappointed many Republicans for showing some independence, often siding with Democrats. That is highly unlikely with Cox, who describes himself as a devoted student of Ayn Rand, a major promoter of unfettered capitalism. Cox has a long record in the House of promoting big business. He is a major recipient of contributions from business groups, the accounting profession and Silicon Valley, he has fought against accounting rules that would give less favorable treatment to corporate mergers and executive stock options. He opposes taxes on dividends and capital gains. And he helped to steer through the House a bill making investor lawsuits more difficult. That measure, which Congress adopted over President Bill Clinton's veto, was hailed by business groups. Consumer groups say it helped create the climate that fostered the big accounting scandals at companies like Enron and WorldCom.-Democracy Now!
Cox has an 87 percent lifetime rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, meaning he has voted in favor of the chamber's position on legislation most of the time, according to R. Bruce Josten, an executive vice president who worked closely with the lawmaker on the securities litigation bill in 1995....-Washington Post
The appointment comes in the same week the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Arthur Andersen's obstruction-of-justice conviction resulting from its work for client Enron Corp. and as an Alabama jury continues to deliberate in a trial of a former health care executive accused of violating a new corporate accountability law known as Sarbanes-Oxley....
Plaintiff lawyer William S. Lerach, who bitterly fought Cox on the securities litigation law in the mid-1990s, said the appointment "is like putting the fox in the chicken coop."
On social policy, Cox is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. He voted to override President Clinton’s veto of a ban against late-term abortion, and in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. In 1996, the American Civil Liberties Union gave him a “0” rating. The Christian Coalition gave him a “100.”-The Man Behind the Report: As His Colleagues Investigated Clinton, Christopher Cox Investigated China, By Heather Maher
The main question is whether China can escape the pull of this old psychological syndrome – which kept it preoccupied throughout the twentieth century with debilitating sentiments of weakness, insecurity, and humiliation – and allow itself to be guided by a new outlook on the world, and even on old enemies.-China’s Victimization Syndrome
The anti-Japanese demonstrations are a symptom of the old syndrome, fueled by grievances born at a time when China was, indeed, aggrieved and humiliated. With China’s growing economic clout, rising standard of living, and increasingly respected place in the world, one would hope that the Chinese and their leaders would find a way to let go of the dead. Yet, even as the luster of the “China miracle” dazzles the world, the Chinese seem loath leave behind their dark feelings of victimization.
Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.-Fair and balanced....
Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.
Car owners around town are covering their mirrors in an attempt to outsmart a woodpecker who apparently thinks his reflection is an enemy.-Annoying little pecker.
Tim Taylor, who owns Thruway Auto Glass, said he replaced 30 smashed mirrors last year and 18 this year because of the bird, which has claimed this area east of Syracuse as his territory.
Chat rooms bristle with insulting accusations that al-Zulfa is "driven by carnal instincts with 454 horsepower."-Where AAA meets XXX
"Driving by women leads to evil," Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to the editor of the Al-Watan daily. "Can you imagine what it will be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men."
In 2001, O'Connor received national attention for her remarks about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.-Don't even ask her about the ERA.
"I think the 19th Amendment, while it's not an evil in and of itself, is a symptom of something I don't approve of," she said at the time. "The 19th Amendment is around because men weren't doing their jobs, and I think that's sad. I believe the man should be the head of the family. The woman should be the heart of the family."
Perhaps there are bloggers too weak to write of themselves, of their lives, who write to earn back their lives, from the indifference of the world and the omnipresence of work. But perhaps they are too weak even to mark by writing the mark that witnesses their weakness.
For the past four years I've called on Congress to pass legislation that encourages energy conservation; that promotes domestic production in environmentally friendly ways; that helps diversify away from foreign oil; that modernizes the electricity grid; that's got a substantial amount of research and development money to help us transition from the hydrocarbon economy to a diversified source of energy economy.-George W. Bush
...House Republicans were bending the rules to send a tax-saving challenge to timber subsidies into point-of-order oblivion....-Star Tribune
The subsidies involve Alaska's Tongass National Forest -- the nation's last large, intact temperate rainforest, stretching over 17 million acres of islands and coastline in southeast Alaska. The Tongass has long been a favorite of environmentalists and sportsmen's groups, who have relentlessly opposed the Bush administration's efforts to roll back Clinton-era restrictions on new logging roads.
More recently, it has become a darling of conservative, taxpayer-oriented watchdog groups, who are fine with logging federal lands as long as the taxpayers get a reasonable return on their investment. But it has been a long time since that happened in the Tongass.
The Bush administration today said state governors will have 18 months to petition new forest rules that would open up almost 60 million acres of national forestland to road construction and logging.-Bloomberg
Governors can request more or fewer restrictions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. The new rule reverses a 2001 regulation put in place during the last month of President Bill Clinton's term that banned road building and timber cutting on about 58.5 million of the approximately 192 million acres of forest and grassland managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
...Congress needs to be wise about the taxpayers' dollars.-George W. Bush
Terming the US current account deficit as 'unsustainable,' the International Monetary Fund has said it could have a significant adverse effect on interest rates and global capital markets....-Financial Express
...Expenditure discipline, it said, will be an essential part of any deficit reduction but tax reform should also play a role in supporting fiscal sustainability.
"America's lack of savings -- by the government and by individuals -- is the biggest contributor to global imbalance, making it necessary to 'import' billions of dollars of foreign capital daily to cover our budget and trade deficits," the editorial said.-Japan Times
Fighting in Iraq has been prolonged and remains intense enough that it has pushed the total cost of U.S. military operations since Sept. 11, 2001, close to that of the Korean War.-USA Today
Despite the yawning federal deficit, Congress hasn't blinked at this price. And while annual defense spending is now as high as it ever was during the Reagan buildup, the U.S. economy as a whole is much larger, making it easier, in economic terms, for the nation to shoulder the bill.
Yet the costs for Pentagon operations are likely to pile up in years ahead. By 2010, war expenses might total $600 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Much depends on when — and how many — U.S. military personnel can be withdrawn from the Iraqi theater of operations.
Re-igniting the medical malpractice overhaul debate, a new study by Dartmouth College researchers suggests that huge jury awards and financial settlements for injured patients have not caused the explosive increase in doctors' insurance premiums.-The Boston Globe
The researchers said a more likely explanation for the escalation is that malpractice insurance companies have raised doctors' premiums to compensate for falling investment returns.
The Dartmouth economists studied actual payments made to patients between 1991 and 2003, the results of which were published yesterday in the journal Health Affairs. Some previous studies have examined jury awards, which often are reduced after trial to comply with doctors' insurance coverage maximums or because the plaintiff settles for less money to avoid an appeal. Researchers found that payments grew an average of 4 percent annually during the years covered by the study, or 52 percent overall since 1991, but only 1.6 percent a year since 2000. The increases are roughly equivalent to the overall rise in healthcare costs, said Amitabh Chandra, lead author and an assistant professor of economics at the New Hampshire college.
Phantom limb illusions Dr. Ramachandran is an investigator of the senses. His explorations on synesthesia, phantom limbs, and human consciousness are revealing excursions into sensory awareness. And his reader-friendly books, such as A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness and Phantoms in the Brain (both from Amazon) are a pleasure to read. His greatest gifts appear to be a childlike simplicity, coupled with straightforward empiricism. His writing is easy-to-understand, often sparked with unpredictable humor. Recommended for all mind & brain enthusiasts who may not have heard of him yet.-Metafilter
Metafilter has finally turned into FARK!Again!
posted by gilgamix
Odd, it looks like Fark has a blue background today....
posted by gurple