Archive | February, 2010

Antibiotic Resistance

It’s kind of Zen, don’t you think? The response to being overpowered is… stop fighting!

OSLO, Norway — Aker University Hospital is a dingy place to heal. The floors are streaked and scratched. A light layer of dust coats the blood pressure monitors. A faint stench of urine and bleach wafts from a pile of soiled bedsheets dropped in a corner.

Look closer, however, at a microscopic level, and this place is pristine. There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia last year, soaring virtually unchecked.

The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs.

Twenty-five years ago, Norwegians were also losing their lives to this bacteria. But Norway’s public health system fought back with an aggressive program that made it the most infection-free country in the world. A key part of that program was cutting back severely on the use of antibiotics.

Now a spate of new studies from around the world prove that Norway’s model can be replicated with extraordinary success, and public health experts are saying these deaths — 19,000 in the U.S. each year alone, more than from AIDS — are unnecessary.

“It’s a very sad situation that in some places so many are dying from this, because we have shown here in Norway that Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA] can be controlled, and with not too much effort,” said Jan Hendrik-Binder, Oslo’s MRSA medical advisor. “But you have to take it seriously, you have to give it attention and you must not give up.”

The World Health Organization says antibiotic resistance is one of the leading public health threats on the planet. A six-month investigation by The Associated Press found overuse and misuse of medicines has led to mutations in once curable diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, making them harder and in some cases impossible to treat.

Surprise, Surprise

Imagine that! Now if only the DoJ would go after the cable companies, we’d have a Democratic majority in perpetuity…

A home electronics retail store has filed a class-action lawsuit against Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Toshiba Corp., LG Electronics Inc., Hitachi Ltd. and several subsidiaries, accusing the electronics manufacturers of colluding to fix prices in the U.S. optical disc drive (ODD) market.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, also claims the disc drive manufacturers used trade organization forums to meet and discuss agreements to keep prices of CD, DVD and Blu-ray drives in products like the Sony PlayStation 3 and PCs artificially high.

“When the price of ODD began to dip, the Defendants entered into an illegal agreement to prevent competitors from entering into the market and to keep prices at a supracompetitive level,” the lawsuit states.

Liars

Lamar Alexander is lying to Elizabeth Vargas (he just said reconciliation is rarely used – “And never for anything of this size or complexity”) and Vargas isn’t saying a thing about it.

Of course not. She’s paid to simulate gravitas, not actually act from it.

Media Matters:

In a March 31 article on Democrats’ potential implementation of the budget reconciliation process, which would allow Congress to pass “policy changes in mandatory spending (entitlements) or revenue programs (tax laws)” by a simple majority in both Houses, The Hill reported: “GOP critics of the reconciliation process have said that it was never intended to ram through major legislation.” However, The Hill did not mention that Republicans used the budget reconciliation process to pass several major Bush initiatives, as The New York Times and the blog Think Progress have noted. These initiatives include the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

Major – and expensive – legislation, all. That was a trillion-dollar tax bill in 2001, one that drove up the deficit. We didn’t hear Republicans calling for “pay as you go” there, did we?

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