In the past two weeks, 15 Americans have died of fungal meningitis and more than 200 have become infected from tainted steroid injections they received to treat problems with their spines. The “compounding” pharmacy responsible for distributing the contaminated steroid shipped nearly 18,000 vials of the product to 75 facilities in 23 states, so that many more people could have been exposed to the fungal contaminant.
For everyone then alive, it remains a moment frozen in time. I was a 19-year-old Vanderbilt University sophomore having lunch in the Gold Room, Vanderbilt’s snack bar. I was sitting in an overstuffed leather chair and in the act of inserting a hot dog into my mouth when one of the ladies who worked the counter came in from another room where there was a television. In a voice as devoid of emotion as if she were announcing, “They say it’s going to rain this weekend,” she said, to no one in particular, “They say the president’s been shot.”
Whether it’s a second shooter on the grassy knoll, inconsistencies in the Warren Commission investigation, or the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, Americans are still drawn to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. But what contributes to the durability of these conspiracy theories? Certainly their plausibility has something to do with it. But like a good conspiracy theory itself, there’s more to it than the immediate explanation. In the days following President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the National Opinion Research Center was in the field polling a stunned nation.
Anyone with a modicum of knowledge regarding public health will agree that the most important, devastating, and preventable issue facing America is the human toll of cigarettes. Yet our nation’s main health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will issue regulations within the next few weeks that could harm our nation’s 45 million smokers. Smokers trying to quit have an extremely difficult time, yet a new technology which might ease their path — electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes — is facing relentless opposition from public health agencies like the FDA and CDC, and their antipathy is certainly not based on science.
“In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” This, I trust everyone knows, is the inscription on the back wall of the Lincoln Memorial in DC, visible above the awe-inspiring statue of our greatest president, greeting us and inducing reverence as we enter what is, in my opinion, the finest public building anywhere. On facing walls, to left and right, are carved in stone Lincoln’s two greatest speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln’s personal contributions to his enduring memory.
In the aftermath of last week´s elections in Virginia and New Jersey, much has been said about what the results portend for Republicans in the next election cycle. But let´s not lose sight of the lessons learned only last year. After the shellshock of the 2012 election abated, the Republican National Committee released their “Growth and Opportunity Project” report, which observed that “the perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.”
I recently wrote a brief summary critique of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “analysis” of the “social cost of carbon.” In a nutshell, I argued: (1) the EPA analysis fails to recognize that U.S. policies would have virtually no effect on temperatures or “climate” regardless of which climate model is assumed to be the most useful; and (2) the analysis is poor methodologically and inconsistent with analytic guidelines that have been imposed on executive agencies by the Office of Management and Budget. My observations elicited several comments, varying substantially in analytic quality, to which I respond below in this article.
Today, the phrase “social engineering” has fallen into disgrace. Yet the policy of social engineering, the idea of which goes back to Plato’s time, is still with us today, most conspicuously in the Affordable Care Act. Within the first few weeks of its rollout, Obamacare began to show the telltale signs of social engineering: nothing worked the way it was originally planned. Soon the words “debacle” and “fiasco” were being routinely employed by the media to describe Obamacare’s first month — the same words that have been so appropriately applied to the ill-fated social engineering ventures of the past.
Georgia’s recent presidential election was another milestone for democracy, but the small nation faces ongoing intimidation and illegal occupation of two of its territories by Russia. Whether Georgia integrates into the West or becomes annexed into President Putin’s greater Russia is critical for Georgians and consequential to the United States. Russia is seeking to strengthen its sphere of influence, especially in countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. Although some of Moscow’s tactics are brutish, outrageous, and unacceptable, it is understandable that it seeks to reclaim a central role on the world stage.
The ways in which changes to tax policy would redistribute wealth drives many of today’s debates in Washington. The fiscal cliff fight that ushered in the year hinged on whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended for all Americans or only the bottom 98 percent. Last year, a report on Mitt Romney’s tax proposal aroused intense controversy and scarred the Romney campaign when it claimed that “a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed … would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”
"Wherever people discover that money is being spent, either privately or by public officials, they commonly develop opinions on how it ought to be spent ... each person thus becomes his own fantasy despot, disposing of others and their resources as he or she thinks desirable,” wrote Kenneth Minogue in The Servile Mind. Pundits are starting to realize that the problems with Healthcare.gov, the troubled Obamacare website, are not merely technical. High-level managerial issues have started to surface, particularly with this week’s publication by the Washington Post of a memorandum written in 2010 by health care economist David Cutler.
As Obamacare’s growing pains have occupied headlines for the last month, one key aspect of its rollout has fallen by the wayside: the ill-considered medical device excise tax that is used to help fund the ACA, the debate over which illustrates the importance of, and the many misconceptions about, the American medical device industry. As part of the 10-year, trillion-dollar-plus expansion of government-subsidized health care, Obamacare imposes a 2.3 percent levy on revenues from qualified medical devices, a tax that came into effect on January 1 and that is expected to raise about $30 billion over the next decade.
“Do not do unto others as you would they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same,” wrote George Bernard Shaw in “Man and Superman.” Economists often debate the implications of trends in the “median real wage.” There is no such thing. We have statistics on the hourly wages of workers, and we can compare the median in the year 1970 to the median in 2012. However, that only gives us the median nominal wage, not adjusted for inflation. To convert a nominal wage to a real wage, we need to apply a cost-of-living adjustment.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on a conference call organized by Karl Rove’s Crossroads organization for large donors and their advisers on Oct. 30 that the Tea Party movement, in his view, is a “nothing but a bunch of bullies” that he plans to “punch … in the nose.” On the call, according to a donor who was on it, McConnell personally named Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) as Tea Party conservatives he views as problematic for him. “The bulk of it was an attack on the Tea Party in general, Cruz in particular,” the source, a
Fraud can be so brazen it takes people’s breath away. But for a prosecutor tasked with proving a swindle — or what federal law describes as a “scheme to defraud” — the crucial thing is not so much the fraud. It is the scheme. To be sure, it is the fraud — the individual false statements, sneaky omissions, and deceptive practices — that grabs our attention. As I’ve recounted in this space, President Obama repeatedly and emphatically vowed, “If you like your health-insurance plan, you can keep your health-insurance plan, period.” The incontrovertible record — disclosures by the Obama administration in
Fear swept through Borough Park, Brooklyn, as soon as the news got out: A young man was randomly assaulted by strangers early Friday morning, and the attack was possibly part of the so-called Knockout Game. Four men were arrested, but on Friday night only one was charged and the others were released. The attack added to a growing log of reports of such crimes in the Northeast and beyond. Young assailants were randomly picking unlucky targets and trying to knock them out with just one punch. Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted
Joining the hosts of MSNBC’s The Cycle on Friday, legendary NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw previewed a special on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination that will air on MSNBC that night. Recounting his experiences from that day, he said that the reaction to JFK’s assassination, “mostly in conservative states,” was encapsulated by his interaction with one man who expressed satisfaction over the president’s killing. “This was unusual but it was not unheard of,” Brokaw told the MSNBC hosts, prefacing a conservative’s reaction to JFK’s killing. “As I came running out of the announce booth, the chief engineer,
If voters had been aware last year that they might lose their health-care plans when Obamacare went into effect, Republican President Mitt Romney would be sitting in the White House today, according to a poll released Friday. A Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research survey conducted from Nov. 18-20 asked voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2012: “As you may know, millions of Americans have lost their insurance plans despite President Obama’s promise that, quote, ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it.’ If you knew in 2012 that this promise was not true, would you still have voted
President Obama said Friday he does not worry much about his safety because of the “outstanding” Secret Service detail that shadows him everywhere he goes. Obama said the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago transformed the presidential security detail to a point where he hardly thinks about safety. "It´s not something I think about, mainly because we have a Secret Service that does an outstanding job every single day," Obama told ABC News in an interview set to air next week. For example, the open-air car Kennedy was riding in while shot in Dallas in 1963
Ahmad Rashad, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, has made yet another great catch. The Minnesota Vikings legend has rebounded from his broken marriage to Sale Johnson — the ex-wife of Jets owner Woody Johnson — and is said to be dating Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s most trusted senior adviser. Rashad, a sportscaster and a close friend of Michael Jordan’s, is keeping the romance on the down low. “They haven’t gone out in public,” one source told me. “They are sneaking around.” (Rashad’s manager did not respond to questions about the relationship, and the White House declined to comment on Jarrett’s personal life.) Rashad, who
Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans”- President John F. Kennedy. There is no family in American politics who is quite on par with the Kennedy’s. Fifty years after the assassination of JFK, the family’s presence in American politics has dwindled–they’ve experienced many ups and downs– but they’ve carried on. Each generation seems to pass on the proverbial torch, and America’s interest in the Kennedy clan, whether they’re running for office or battling public relations snafus, has continued with that passing.
This week´s episode of the CBS drama NCIS: Los Angeles featured an "ultra right wing" terror group complete with a Gadsden Flag, a favorite of the modern Tea Party movement. Tuesday´s episode, entitled Recovery, had the team investigating the apparent drowning of a Navy Lt. Commander at high priced California rehab center. The investigation revealed that the naval IT specialist had actually been drugged with scopolamine and Vicodin, pumped for intelligence on U.S. Predator drones and dumped in the pool. This led Special Agents Callen, Hanna, Deeks and Blye to a fictitious “ultra right-wing” extremist group that planned to hijack
Secretary of State John Kerry marked “Transgender Day of Remembrance” Wednesday, noting that these individuals are “harassed, arrested or even killed simply because of who they are and who they love.” The U.S. was joining the international event by “honoring the memory of lives lost to violence provoked by fear and hatred of transgender and gender non-conforming people,” he said. Kerry said despite “tremendous progress in advancing the rights of LGBT people” these individuals still face violence, including in the United States. “The sad truth is that in too many places, including the United States, transgender persons continue to face violence and discrimination
Mike Convente, a left-wing Daily Kos diarist and a representative on the University of Pennsylvania health care committee, took to the pages of Kos to complain about the "law of unintended consequences" of ObamaCare. Convente is also upset that Obama´s "marketing slogans … turned out to be not so correct." It looks as though the students at UPenn will be paying a lot more for their health insurance policies, thanks in large part to the fact that ObamaCare is forcing them to pay for coverage they do not need. Not only that, Convente is probably not buying the propaganda from
It’s hard to overstate how disconcerting the news about our government has been since Obamacare debuted on October 1st. The HealthCare.gov rollout for consumers, utterly disastrous and demoralizing as it has been, is in the grand scheme a far-down-the-list annoyance. Its most beneficial result has been to teach Americans with their eyes even remotely open that our government has devolved to the point where it can’t carry out even the simplest of tasks. Over a long weekend followed by some supplemental tweaking, the three guys who built the working Affordable Care Act policy search web site known as TheHealthSherpa.com for free accomplished