News Updates for Monday

An interesting 1, 2, 3 punch in the world of Microsoft and tech jobs, Obama pushes for fuel efficiency and more today in this news roundup. Let’s get started:

  • President Obama is taking steps to roll back the Bush legacy of environmental “policy,” pushing to have CAFE standards raised to the proposed 2011 standards immediately, ordering the EPA to allow states to set more stringent environmental policies than the federal levels (California, ah-hem?). You know? I remember thinking that the Bush Administration went too far too fast reversing Clinton policies, I do wonder if the Obama Administration won’t suffer the same fate. Careful with that axe, Eugene.
  • Pfizer is buying Wyeth to create the biggest drug company, ever. The fact that so many of their own patents are coming to an end in the next few years is what has prompted the company to take this move despite their own financial problems. So, great. Now we have an even bigger company with more lobbyists to run around Washington.
  • Silicon Vally is experiencing a huge layoff crush right now. Microsoft is among the companies that’s laying off 5,000 workers. Punch one.
  • Meanwhile, as it lays off workers, Microsoft also continues to push beyond it’s capacity by trying to forge ahead with wireless plans (ask anyone who has an MS phone, they’ll tell you they’re in hell). However shall they do that while laying off workers? Punch two.
  • Funny you should ask. Senator Grassley of Iowa was wondering about the same thing. Specifically, he wondered why they should be laying off workers when they’ve got so many foreign visa workers that work so cheaply. Huh! Imagine that.

The Cervical Cancer Spin

Gardasil.  It’s everywhere.  On television, in movies, in print.  But didn’t that happen rather fast?  And what was the risk of cervical cancer to women prior to the vaccination?

All these questions and more are posed and partially answered in this excellent article.

I appreciate vaccination as much as the next guy.  I’m sure that I would rather live in the world we have today than a world where people die from stubbing their toes.  Still, it is exactly these types of value questions and logical inquries which are simply lacking in our media, our government and in our health system.  In fact, we are actively encouraged to abdicate our common sense to drug companies’ ability to spin new diseases and crisises in advance of their own cures.

Go ahead, try it some time: the next time you walk into some sort of specialty clinic for some specialty treatments – some little office in a great big office building in Henrietta – ask the doctor how many patients come through the doors with your problem, and how many leave cured.

They won’t answer.


Veteran Experiments: Because Monkeys are Expensive

Anybody remember how the U.S. Army gave soldiers LSD back during Korea? Or how about how the “Reefer Madness” propaganda convinced the Army to give soldiers pot to see if they could turn them into killing machines? Results fell somewhat short of expectations, comically so, but what is happening now is not even remotely funny:

ABC News: ‘Disposable Heroes’: Mentally Distressed Veterans Used to Test Suicide-Linked Drugs

Mentally distressed veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are being recruited for government tests on pharmaceutical drugs linked to suicide and other violent side effects, an investigation by ABC News and “The Washington Times” has found.

I’m sure the Veterans Administration will have some snappy answer as to why they didn’t warn soldiers, even after repeated warnings from the manufacturers of the drug. But if I were a cynical man – and as luck would have it, I am – I’d say that the Veterans Administration is doing the Pharmaceutical industry’s own worst-case drug testing on the cheap.

So, let us now drop this silly pretense about “supporting the troops,” shall we?

‘Sicko’ Night in America!

Micheal Moore is soooo cool. The Sicko phenom has continued to gather steam and the production company has agreed to release more copies of the movie to smaller cities across the country. That’s great news for Universal Health Care because many rural people, especially in the Mid-West, don’t get to see films like this very often in the theatre and this is one that needs to be seen far and wide.

But what makes Michael Moore so cool is his inventive and creative ways of generating interest in the movie. Its this that Conservatives find so goading about him; they figure only Corporate America has the right to use slick promotional gimmicks. I guess that’s sorta fair, since after all, they’re usually selling us poison, so you’ve gotta work extra hard to make that palatable.

But check out Mike’s new promotion:

And, to show my thanks to all of you who’ll go see “Sicko” this weekend, I’m going to send one of you and a guest on a free weekend to the universal health care country of your choice! That’s right. You’ll get to pick one of the three industrialized countries featured in the movie where, if you get sick, you get help for free, no matter who you are. All you have to do is send us your ticket stub (make sure it says “Sicko” on it and has the name of the theater and this weekend’s date on it — Friday, Saturday or Sunday – July 20th, 21st, 22nd). Attach the stub to a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and email and send it to: ‘Sicko’ Night in America, 888c 8th Avenue, Suite 443, New York, NY 10019. (Yes, you have to use that old 18th century device called the U.S. Postal Service, and it has to be postmarked on or by Tuesday, July 24th). First prize is a weekend in the city of your choice: Paris, London or Toronto. This includes airfare, hotel, meals and, most! exciting, a representative from their fine universal health care system who will give you a personal tour so you can see how they treat their fellow citizens. You’ll meet people who pay nothing for college and citizens who are in the fourth week of their six-week paid vacation. Oh, and you’ll have time to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or whatever they have in Toronto that is old and tall. (If you don’t have a passport, we’ll pay for that, too!)

Who is up for seeing Sicko a second time? I am.

CNN: I Want An Apology, Too.

I was fortunate enough to have been watching CNN at one of the few times that it was worth watching. If you’d have said yesterday afternoon that such a thing would happen during Wolf Blitzer’s segment, I’d have laughed in your face.

But lo! It came to pass that on this day, Michael Moore finally shoved the crap CNN has been dishing out straight into their smug, ill-informed faces. Moments before, I sat in my couch watching Sanjay Gupta’s pathetic hit-job report, practically jumping out of my skin at the misinformation. Fortunately, Moore didn’t back down, but got pissed instead. Moore’s web group has since refuted many of the claims, some of which didn’t even properly cite his movie, on his website.

I think that this may be sort of a “Katrina Moment” for both the health care industry and for CNN. People are waking up to the fact – not that everyone else has a better health care system, but that America has an intentionally abusive system. We are noticing that, contrary to the claims of the Reagan Administration, we do not have the world’s #1 health care system. That Cuba is 39th and we’re 37th doesn’t alert us to the fact that we’re better than Cuba, it alerts us to the fact that we’re worse than 36 other countries.

For god’s sake, we’ve been told for fifty years that Communism sucks, and now we’re being told that we should be proud of the fact that we’re two states ahead of the Cuban health care system?!?!?!?!? And we’re being told that not by Glaxo Smith-Klein, not by Pfizer, not by our HMO. We’re being told these things by CNN.

So, watch the video and demand an apology from CNN. I’ll include my letter to CNN after the flip below: