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Tangled up in blue

Bob Dylan:

Jerry Brown. Asshole.

After playing up his connections to Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers to get elected, Jerry Brown vetoes the farmworkers’ bill of rights with no explanation.

Mr. Michele Bachmann, who’s rumored to be a closet case himself. Maybe someone really is reading my Tweets, since I’ve been asking for media types to investigate!

Jobs program

I’m glad they’re doing this, but disgusted that the federal government didn’t take the lead:

The A.F.L.-C.I.O. said it would announce on Wednesday that it intends to work with pension fund managers to ensure that at least $10 billion in union pension money is made available in the next five years to finance infrastructure projects.

Richard L. Trumka, president of the labor federation, will present the plan at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago as part of organized labor’s effort to get the federal government, banks and money managers to do more to issue bonds or create other mechanisms to finance infrastructure projects.

A.F.L.-C.I.O. officials said they planned to work with Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions in the hope of coming up with hundreds of millions of dollars to retrofit large commercial buildings. Many building owners are hesitating to do such retrofits because they are highly leveraged and do not have the cash to make the investments. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. hopes its $10 billion will provide an incentive for banks and hedge funds to develop financing vehicles to make such projects happen.

SWAT team gets a medal

For breaking into the wrong house. Oy.

Love this

“Responsibilities of the Buddhist employer.”

‘Could and should have been presented’

Of course:

BEAVER, W.Va. — U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration officials have finished their presentation at today’s briefing on the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, and they’re starting a question-and-answer session for the public gathered at an auditorium here at the mine academy outside Beckley.

The major new point from the briefing has already been covered by this post last night, about the finding that MSHA investigators discovered two different sets of books, an indication that Massey knew about some safety problems at the mine, but did not report them as required in fireboss books.

The bottom line from the meeting so far is that MSHA investigators found these safety failures by the mine operator that contributed to the disaster: Failure to properly rockdust the mine, failure to control float coal dust, failure to maintain water sprays on the longwall shearer, and an emphasis on coal production over safety precautions.

According to MSHA:

“This explosion could and should have been prevented by the mine operator.”

The harrow and the harvest

You can listen to Gillian Welch’s new album here.

Whattaya want, a medal?

I think it’s bizarre that old guys are so very proud of themselves for reproducing, especially when the outcome is so iffy:

Older fathers made headlines several years ago when researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine reported that a man over 40 is almost six times as likely as a man under 30 to father an autistic child. Since then, research has shown that a man’s chances of fathering offspring with schizophrenia double when he hits 40 and triple at age 50. The incidence of bipolarity, epilepsy, prostate cancer and breast cancer also increases in children born to men approaching 40.
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Opposition

There’s not much pure research left. Corporate donations influence everything, thanks to the concept that the federal government should only give money to bankers:

In an extraordinary move, a group of spine specialists are publicly repudiating the research of other experts that has backed the widespread use of a Medtronic bone growth product. In a series of reports published in a medical journal on Tuesday, the specialists called the research misleading and biased.

The repudiation, appearing in a full issue of The Spine Journal devoted to the topic, represents a watershed in the long-running debate over conflicts of interest for the sponsorship of scientific studies by makers of drugs and medical devices. It is extremely rare for researchers to publicly chastise colleagues, and editors of leading medical journals said they could not recall an instance in which a publication had dedicated an entire issue for such a singular purpose.

[...] Infuse is used in about a quarter of the estimated 432,000 spinal fusions performed in this country each year. The articles published on Tuesday charge that researchers with financial ties to Medtronic overstated Infuse’s benefits and vastly understated its risks by claiming there were none.

“It harms patients to have biased and corrupted research published,” five doctors wrote in a joint editorial that accompanied the reports. “It harms patients to have unaccountable special interests permeate medical research.”

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