newspaper logo
Established 1973 — Last updated: Thursday, November 27, 2014, 12:18 PM
Policy, Practice & Analysis
Permanent Editorial?
The U.S. wastes $1.6 Trillion/yr on bloated health care spending as compared with the 2011 OECD per capita average, which becomes extra overhead on everything U.S. workers make—resulting in offshoring manufacturing and jobs. Let's adopt more efficient practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
2011 US per capita health care spending was $4390 more per person than in France (acclaimed as having the best healthcare) and $5169 above the OECD average without better results. (Ref. 2009, 2007, selected 2007 with avg. doctor visits showing we're least cared for for the money, 2003 and 1998.)

Lastly and importantly, health worker pay is NOT the problem.

[Sorry I didn't date this, which has been updated over time, my anger unrelenting. It was posted in early 2010. A similar editorial re. triple-play communication services is also much deserved, since all OECD countries pay much less.]
The brain has a weak spot for Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, according to UK scientists who have pinpointed the region using scans.
The MRI images revealed a common pattern - the parts of the brain that were the last to develop were also the first to show signs of age-related decline.

These brain regions - a network of nerve cells or grey matter - co-ordinate "high order" information coming from the different senses, such as sight and sound.

When the researchers looked at scans of patients with Alzheimer's disease and scans of patients with schizophrenia they found the same brain regions were affected.

Michelle Roberts | BBC
Steve Miller is chief medical officer for Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX), which oversees prescription benefits for health plans and employers covering 85 million patients. Unless more is done about a wave of new and expensive drugs, some priced at as much as $50,000 a month, Miller says that health plans are going to be swamped as costs double to half a trillion dollars as soon as 2020. [All other advanced countries control health costs, but in the US we have to hope for a CEO to be less greedy and risk stockholders wrath]
Robert Langreth | Bloomberg News
In the clearest sign to date the administration sees no long-range future for fossil fuel, the state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas.

The assertion, a week ahead of United Nations climate negotiations in Lima, will be seen as a further indication of Obama’s commitment to climate action, following an historic US-Chinese deal to curb emissions earlier this month.

A global deal to fight climate change would necessarily require countries to abandon known reserves of oil, coal and gas, Stern told a forum at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

“It is going to have to be a solution that leaves a lot of fossil fuel assets in the ground,” he said. “We are not going to get rid of fossil fuel overnight but we are not going to solve climate change on the basis of all the fossil fuels that are in the ground are going to have to come out. That’s pretty obvious.”

Suzanne Goldenberg | The Guardian
Swimmers who dive into a number of Canadian lakes might not emerge clean and refreshed, but dripping with globs that resemble slimy fish eggs. A legacy of industrial pollution has caused great changes in the country's water chemistry, creating a boom in tiny organisms that transform lakes into "jelly." [Not safe for living things!]
JOHN METCALFE | CityLab
World Bank will only fund coal projects in cases of ‘extreme need’ due to the risk climate change poses to ending world poverty, says Jim Yong Kim
John Vidal | The Guardian
North Dakota took on the oversight of a multibillion-dollar oil industry with a regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances.
DEBORAH SONTAG and ROBERT GEBELOFF | The New York Times
Will Vancouver's experiment work? Studies conducted in Europe—where prescription heroin is common—reveal that the programs have produced improved public health outcomes as well as reduced crime. Prescription narcotic abuse has been a significant problem in the United States, and heroin abuse is a large and growing problem in the country. A recent study from the Center on Disease Control found that heroin use increased 74 percent from 2009 to 2012, and that in 2012 Americans were twice as likely to suffer a fatal overdose than they were in 2010.
MATT SCHIAVENZA | The Atlantic

Though Canada's system is the second most expensive in the world per capita, it would save America $1.3 Trillion/yr and cover everyone
OLGA KHAZAN | The Atlantic | Ref.
The cost of cancer drugs [13:52 60 Minutes' video]
Lesley Stahl discovers the shock and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can be followed by a second jolt: the astronomical price of cancer drugs

Dr. Peter Bach: Medicare has to pay exactly what the drug company charges. Whatever that number is.

Lesley Stahl: Wait a minute, this is a law?

Dr. Peter Bach: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: And there's no negotiating whatsoever with Medicare?

Dr. Peter Bach: No.

[All other OECD countries negotiate much lower drug costs]
CBS News | Ref.
Elisabeth Rosenthal in The New York Times | Ref.
Climate Change: Lines of Evidence [play chapters or all 28 minutes]
The National Research Council via YouTube | Ref.
A.C. THOMPSON and JONATHAN JONES in ProPublica | Ref.
Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us [long, print & study; 3:38 video]
Looking at real bills for real patients cuts through the ideological debate over health care policy.
STEVEN BRILL in Time Magazine | Ref.
Econ4 on Health Care [10:00 video]
the USA ranks first in the world in health care spending, but only 45th in life expectancy....
YVES SMITH comments in Naked Capitalism | Ref.
Climate change inaction is a leading global cause of death.
DARA | Ref.
If we had the per-person costs of any other OECD country, America’s deficits would vanish....
EZRA KLEIN in the Washington Post | Ref.
How Industry Money Reaches (aka 'bribes') Physicians
Special Report in Pro Publica | Ref.
To remove your appendix in one California hospital costs $180,000, at a different facility the bill is $1,500. [Who has time to shop?]
RYAN FLINN in Bloomberg | Ref.
SOURCE: Public Broadcasting System & ABC News | Ref.
SOURCE: The White House | Ref.
SOURCE: Slate Mag. | Ref.
SOURCE: The American Medical Student Association | Ref.
SOURCE: Readers | Ref.
Police fire teargas and grenades in attempt to quell protests after grand jury decides not to indict police officer Darren Wilson
Jon Swaine and Paul Lewis | The Guardian
One reason for the racial divide over Michael Brown's death is that white Americans tend to talk mostly to other white people.
ROBERT P. JONES | The Atlantic
Who will challenge the culture of failure that says that Americans should only be outraged when Muslims kill Americans?
Why are our politicians ignoring this plague of American-on-American crime? Why are American leaders not protesting the cult of death that fills the graveyards of America? Who will bravely challenge the culture of failure that says that Americans should only be outraged when Muslims kill Americans? Who will challenge the American pathology that says that a boy who walks unarmed is acting French?
TA-NEHISI COATES | The Atlantic
The politics of infrastructure [video w/ads and transcript]
Steve Kroft takes a close look into the nation's crumbling infrastructure and why it's a political "hot potato"
"It's not a very sexy subject," Steve Kroft says about his 60 Minutes story this week: the U.S.'s crumbling infrastructure. "[But] it's a little like replacing the roof on your house. It costs a lot of money but ... if you don't do it, it's just going to get more expensive every year, and eventually end in disaster."

Kroft sees some of these near-disasters as he and civil engineer Andy Herrmann fly over Pittsburgh and get a bird's eye view of the metropolitan area's more than 4,000 bridges.

  • Equipment form St Louis Police Department's stash was revealed
  • Police force was involved in controlling demonstrations in Ferguson
  • Gear included grenade launchers and military-style helicopters
  • Also had armored vehicles, riot shields and conventional firearms
KIERAN CORCORAN | Mail Online




Letters to the Editor
Readers | Ongoing

A broken process at the Texas State Board of Education has allowed right-wing activists to politicize the facts—or fiction—that get taught in history class.
ZACK KOPPLIN | The Atlantic
NEARLY a century ago, Harvard had a big problem: Too many Jews.

A similar injustice is at work today, against Asian-Americans. To get into the top schools, they need SAT scores that are about 140 points higher than those of their white peers.

Extraneous criteria were used to exclude an overachieving minority then and still today. [A variation of such practices are also used to disserve underachieving minorities with the worst education at all school levels, institutionalizing their being an underclass. Reactive racism by all minorities is understandable but only hurts their chance for personal success]

YASCHA MOUNK | The New York Times
Tom Athanasiou’s review of Klein’s latest book, 'This Changes Everything.'
In the face of such huge topics, Klein’s strategy is a practical one. She defers the problem of capitalism-in-itself (as German philosophers used to call it) and focuses instead on our era’s particular type of capitalism – the neoliberal capitalism of boundless privatization and deregulation, of markets-über-alles ideology and oligarchic billionaires. Her central argument is not (as some have insisted) that capitalism has to go before we can begin to save ourselves, but rather that we’re going to have to get past neoliberalism if we want to face the greater challenges.
Tom Athanasiou | AlterNet
New analysis of data conducted by human rights group Reprieve shared with the Guardian, raises questions about accuracy of intelligence guiding [so-called] ‘precise’ strikes [Making more terrorists is BAD policy!]
Spencer Ackerman | The Guardian
Opponents say proposed law would reserve ‘national rights’ for Jews and not for minorities that make up 20% of population
Peter Beaumont | The Guardian
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army and several Islamic military groups say Isis is gaining allies or truces due to US bombings
Mona Mahmood | The Guardian
Residents of this overburdened and polluted megacity are held hostage by a politician-builder nexus that allows rampant ‘development’ to fuel its descent into urban hell
Bachi Karkaria | The Guardian
In a tense confrontation with President Obama’s closest adviser on Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats accused the White House of trying to censor significant details in a voluminous report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency.

During a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill with Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, the senators said that the White House was siding with the C.I.A. and trying to thwart negotiations over the report’s release. The negotiations have dragged on for months because of a dispute over the C.I.A.'s demand that pseudonyms of agency officers be deleted from the report.

MARK MAZZETTI and CARL HULSE | The New York Times
Like Rodney King and Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown's treatment is now a symbol of America's deepest failings
HEATHER DIGBY PARTON | Salon
A U.S. judge again tossed out a Federal Election Commission rule that allowed nonprofit groups running “issue ads” to keep their donors secret, in a setback for groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS.
Joel Rosenblatt | Bloomberg News
The room was pitch-black inside. Jackie blindly turned toward Drew, uttering his name. At that same moment, she says, she detected movement in the room – and felt someone bump into her. Jackie began to scream.

"Shut up," she heard a man's voice say as a body barreled into her, tripping her backward and sending them both crashing through a low glass table. There was a heavy person on top of her, spreading open her thighs, and another person kneeling on her hair, hands pinning down her arms, sharp shards digging into her back, and excited male voices rising all around her. When yet another hand clamped over her mouth, Jackie bit it, and the hand became a fist that punched her in the face. The men surrounding her began to laugh. For a hopeful moment Jackie wondered if this wasn't some collegiate prank. Perhaps at any second someone would flick on the lights and they'd return to the party.

"Grab its motherfucking leg," she heard a voice say. And that's when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.

She remembers every moment of the next three hours of agony, during which, she says, seven men took turns raping her, while two more – her date, Drew, and another man – gave instruction and encouragement. [How is this ever not prosecuted?]

Sabrina Rubin Erdely | RollingStone
The UVA administration has drawn fire for its unsteady response to the issue and the report, published last week by Rolling Stone, most recently for a video of a dean acknowledging weeks before the article that even students who had admitted to sexual assault had invariably escaped expulsion — and that, in fact, no one had been expelled for sexual assault in at least seven years.
JENNIFER STEINHAUER and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA | The New York Times
In recognition of the dangers inherent in the consolidation of mainstream corporate media The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel (formerly a newspaper) advances awareness of important suppressed news and opinion.
The kindness of your donation would be appreciated
Subscribe for only $2.00/mo. Set low on purpose—we know we're not your main news source.
You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581

This week, Lawrence Lessig and Zephyr Teachout return to talk about the corrupting influence of money in politics — a subject both have studied as scholars and are fighting against as reformers. (Watch part one of Bill’s conversation with Lessig and Teachout)
Several dozen Americans earn annual incomes of $1 billion or more. But they do not show up in the top 400 reports because Congress does not require them to report their full incomes or pay taxes immediately.
David Cay Johnston | Al Jazeera America
This Elizabeth Warren grilling of New York Fed William Dudley over the revelations in tapes made by ex-New York Fed employee Carmen Segarra, is a bit more Socratic than her normal approach, presumably because she has more than the typical five minutes for questions. Don’t be deceived by her pacing.

Warren goes after a derivatives transaction that Goldman did with Bank Santander to help the bank create the impression it had more capital than it did. What is appalling about the exchange is it revealed that the New York Fed’s general counsel Tom Baxter effectively pulled the supervisory team off the transaction by deeming it to be legal. But he never checked with the intended victim, the European Banking Authority, to see if it was kosher. Worse, Dudley acts as if this is all fine because the deal was public. In fact, the transaction was so complex that even Bloomberg’s house derivatives maven Matt Levine couldn’t puzzle it out.

Yves Smith | Naked Capitalism
“This piece is a well-argued evisceration of not just the New York Times reporting fail, but the far more important dereliction of duty of the New York Fed, and why it therefore needs to be stripped of its bank regulatory powers.”
– Yves Smith     
Bill Black | Naked Capitalism
Every state has laws regulating lobbying, but almost all of those laws apply to lobbying members of state legislatures, not attorneys general. For the most part, states never anticipated that their chief legal officers would be the subject of aggressive pressure from big businesses and special interests.

But that’s all changed now. Politics at all levels has become dominated by those with enough money to spend lavishly on electing public officials and then pushing them for favors. In a recent investigative report, Eric Lipton of The Times revealed that an entire industry has sprung up to lobby state attorneys general on behalf of companies that are under scrutiny, or that need special legal benefits from a state.

THE EDITORIAL BOARD | The New York Times

We're tracking where taxpayer money has gone in the ongoing bailout of the financial system. Our database accounts for both the broader $700 billion bill and the separate bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
ProPublica | Ref.
SARAH ANDERSON in CounterPunch | Ref.
ANDREW HACKER in The New York Review of Books | Ref.
Its true that technology has allowed partisans and ideologues to choose media sources that confirm their beliefs. But those who simply want “the news” are pretty regularly fed a diet that inflames more than it informs. If you doubt that, take a look at one retired anchorman’s reaction to the movie “Anchorman.”

If we want this to change, we’ll need everyone to think twice about what they do with their eyeballs.

Nancy LeTourneau | Washington Monthly
["We're dismayed he isn't making a $Million/yr." —Baltimore Chronicle]
Unprofessional journalists are 'roasted'.
BOB SOMERBY in The Daily Howler | EVERY DAY
 
Google
 
Web BaltimoreChronicle.com
We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.
Copyright © 2013, 2014 The Baltimore Chronicle and the SENTINEL. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.