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WTF?

This is one of the stranger stories I’ve ever seen:

Update

I’m getting the health insurance in January. I can’t wait.

Also, my antibiotics are almost done. Hallelujah.

Virtually Speaking tonight

Following A to Z on Thursday, Jay hosts Eve Gittelson, who reviews the year in health care policy. Listen Live and Later. A to Z at 5pm/8pm, Jay and Eve at 6pm/9pm eastern.

Last night, for Virtually Speaking Susie 6pm pacific, 9pm eastern Stuart joined Digby and Susie Madrak explore the impact of current events on the daily lives of working class people. Turned into two hours with plenty to chew on. Listen live and later

Politicians and celebrity suckers

Daniel Craig recently sounded off about politicians who pretend to be hip and progressive in order to win the favor of liberal-minded celebrities. Matt Damon was even more blunt. More here.

Weight loss and gain

Photo by Tibor Végh

Why it’s a lot more complicated than “calories in vs. calories out.” Go read it, it’s really interesting:

In a seminal series of experiments published in the 1990s, the Canadian researchers Claude Bouchard and Angelo Tremblay studied 31 pairs of male twins ranging in age from 17 to 29, who were sometimes overfed and sometimes put on diets. (None of the twin pairs were at risk for obesity based on their body mass or their family history.) In one study, 12 sets of the twins were put under 24-hour supervision in a college dormitory. Six days a week they ate 1,000 extra calories a day, and one day they were allowed to eat normally. They could read, play video games, play cards and watch television, but exercise was limited to one 30-minute daily walk. Over the course of the 120-day study, the twins consumed 84,000 extra calories beyond their basic needs.

That experimental binge should have translated into a weight gain of roughly 24 pounds (based on 3,500 calories to a pound). But some gained less than 10 pounds, while others gained as much as 29 pounds. The amount of weight gained and how the fat was distributed around the body closely matched among brothers, but varied considerably among the different sets of twins. Some brothers gained three times as much fat around their abdomens as others, for instance. When the researchers conducted similar exercise studies with the twins, they saw the patterns in reverse, with some twin sets losing more pounds than others on the same exercise regimen. The findings, the researchers wrote, suggest a form of “biological determinism” that can make a person susceptible to weight gain or loss.

Lottery

I like this idea, a lot. It’s very popular on Reddit right now:

It’s clear most Americans hate Congress, big corporations, the wars, etc… Still, it seems our will never gets done. Why? My view of it is, although we have the power to effect change near instantaneously on any matter we agree upon en masse, we dilute our strength when we attack anybody and everyone we percieve to be responsible for our dissatisfaction. Victory will never come to us this way.
You don’t like SOPA? Do not threaten across the board boycotts. That dilutes our power. Instead, keep focusing on GoDaddy. Do not relent. Destroy that business. It literally supports the destruction of your rights, why would you display it mercy?

After GoDaddy goes down, find another bad actor and take them down just the same. In short order other businesses will get the message and back off, believe it. Don’t just attack the businesses though. Find out who in Congress supports this bill against us, and out of all those who are responsible select through perhaps a lottery process your next target. Send your money (a lot of it) to that congressman’s political opponents.

Why a lottery instead of, say, a vote? Because the randomness of it all would be the most unnerving. If you focus your outrage on the most culpable players only, those who share less in the blame will feel safe. Let every politician and business that takes us on know our wrath will not discriminate.

Don’t think this could work? It works every day. The Secret Service cannot monitor everything that is said against the President. Still, people hesitate to publicly threaten whomever holds the office because the SS makes it a point to have all arrests well publisized. That creates a chilling effect. Just like a cop handing a ticket at the side of the road has the effect of getting everyone else to reduce their speed.

Of course we can’t take them all on – no more than China’s military can actually take on even just a tiny fraction of their population of one billion. We need just select a few deserving, unfortunate bastards and make them pay the price. Hang em high and let everyone know about it. Next time, those still around will think twice before waging war against our rights.

Bacteria 1, FDA 0

I’ve never bought prepackaged meat, and here’s a good reason not to start. Maybe someone should do something? Again?

A study earlier this year by a nonprofit research center in Phoenix analyzed 80 brands of beef, pork, chicken and turkey from five cities and found that 47 percent contained staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can cause anything from minor skin infections to pneumonia and sepsis, more technically called systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and commonly known as blood poisoning — but no matter what you call it, plenty scary. Of those bacteria, 52 percent were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics. So when you go to the supermarket to buy one of these brands of pre-ground meat products, there’s a roughly 25 percent chance you’ll consume a potentially fatal bacteria that doesn’t respond to commonly prescribed drugs.

It’s not like this is happening without a reason; the little germs have plenty of practice fighting the drugs designed to kill them in the industrially raised animals to which antibiotics are routinely fed. And although it’s economical for producers to drug animals prophylactically[1], there are many strong arguments against the use of those drugs, including their declining efficacy in humans.

Probably you’d agree with the couple of people I described this situation to earlier this week, one of whom said something like, “Ugh, that’s crazy,” and the other simply, “They gotta do something about that!”

The thing is, “they” did. In 1977.

That’s when the Food and Drug Administration, aware of the health risks of administering antibiotics to healthy farm animals, proposed to withdraw its prior approval of putting penicillin and tetracycline in animal feed. Per their procedure, the F.D.A. then issued two “notices of opportunity for a hearing,” which were put on hold by Congress until further research could be conducted. On hold is exactly where the F.D.A.’s requests have been since your dad had sideburns.

Until last week, when the agency decided to withdraw them.

I am a rock

A winter’s day/ In a deep and dark December…

Joe Bageant

A new collection of his essays. Proceeds to go to his favorite charities.

He was a good one.

Comedy stylings

Of Arlen Specter, who’s always been known around town as a funny guy:

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