Feed on

Other possibilities

I forgot to say that the doctor said the pain I’m describing sounds like shingles, and so does the pain pattern. “But you don’t have a rash,” he said.

I pointed to this one small blister that showed up two days before.

“Hmm. Well, we’ll keep an eye on it,” he said.

I did a little reading yesterday and found that shingles frequently appears after surgery – and that it doesn’t always have a rash. The pain really is bad; even sitting still doesn’t seem to help, although moving makes it worse. Arghh.

The free hand of the market

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Rich Santorum lectures sick people about the market:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder on Tuesday that she shouldn’t have a problem paying $1 million a year for drugs because Apple’s iPad can cost around $900.

Speaking to more than 400 people at Woodland Park, Colorado, the former Pennsylvania senator said that demand should set prices for drugs.

“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” the candidate explained. “But paying $900 for a drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.”

The mother replied that she could not afford her son’s medication, Abilify, which can cost as much as $1 million a year without health insurance.

“Look, I want your son and everybody to have the opportunity to stay alive on much-needed drugs,” Santorum insisted. “But the bottom line is, we have to give companies the incentive to make those drugs. And if they don’t have the incentive to make those drugs, your son won’t be alive and lots of other people in this country won’t be alive.”

“He’s alive today because drug companies provide care,” the candidate continued. “And if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases. … I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don’t have incentives, they won’t make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don’t.”

Must. Hit. Head. On. Wall.


Is Saudi investment the end of the Arab spring?

Immigrant song

And they wandered in
From the city of St. John
Without a dime

More pink ribbons

Cowards. Not to mention, corporate shills:

Komen, the marketing juggernaut that brought the world the ubiquitous pink ribbon campaign, says it cut-off Planned Parenthood because of a newly adopted foundation rule prohibiting it from funding any group that is under formal investigation by a government body. (Planned Parenthood is being investigated by Rep. Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Florida Republican, who says he is trying to learn if the group spent public money to provide abortions.)

But three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut-off Planned Parenthood. (Komen gives out grants to roughly 2,000 organizations, and the new “no-investigations” rule applies to only one so far.) The decision to create a rule that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to these sources, was driven by the organization’s new senior vice-president for public policy, Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who is staunchly anti-abortion and who has said that since she is “pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” (The Komen grants to Planned Parenthood did not pay for abortion or contraception services, only cancer detection, according to all parties involved.) I’ve tried to reach Handel for comment, and will update this post if I speak with her.

The decision, made in December, caused an uproar inside Komen. Three sources told me that the organization’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest immediately following the Komen board’s decision to cut off Planned Parenthood. Williams, who served as the managing director of community health programs, was responsible for directing the distribution of $93 million in annual grants. Williams declined to comment when I reached her yesterday on whether she had resigned her position in protest, and she declined to speak about any other aspects of the controversy.

But John Hammarley, who until recently served as Komen’s senior communications adviser and who was charged with managing the public relations aspects of Komen’s Planned Parenthood grant, said that Williams believed she could not honorably serve in her position once Komen had caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right. “Mollie is one of the most highly respected and ethical people inside the organization, and she felt she couldn’t continue under these conditions,” Hammarley said. “The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away. It seemed very short-sighted to me.”



(Reuters) – The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms surged in January to its highest level in four months as retailers and financial firms cut jobs, a report on Thursday showed.

Employers announced 53,486 planned job cuts last month, up 28 percent from 41,785 in December, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

January’s job cuts were also up from the same time a year ago, gaining 38.9 percent from the 38,519 layoffs announced in January 2011.

A surge in job cuts at the start of the year is not unusual, the report said. January is historically the heaviest month of cuts, averaging 101,084 layoffs between 1993 and 2001.

The Facebook bubble

A massive con job may be in progress, in the form of the coming Facebook IPO, which will supposedly value the company somewhere in the vicinity of $75 billion to $100 billion. More here.

Shame factor?

Apparently, enough people protested loudly enough to compel PA Gov. Tom Corbett to modify his mean-spirited plan to drastically cut the food stamps program.

Tuning out Newt’s noise

One Randy California guitar solo is worth more than a thousand political campaign speeches:

Newt’s new-found concern

Newt Gingrich is upset — downright indignant, it seems — because Mitt Romney is “not concerned about the very poor.” Even Jim DeMint is upset with Mittens.

Right. If you believe this, I know some hot new housing developments in Florida you’ll want to invest in.

From ThinkProgress:

…Despite all their new-found concern for the middle class and the poor, all three Republicans — Romney, Gingrich, and DeMint — support policies that would substantially undermine safety net programs and result in massive giveaways to upper-income earners and investors, while doing almost nothing for middle- and low-income Americans.

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