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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Panel Recommends Ban on 2 Popular Painkillers

Now wait a minute. Because people build up a tolerance to opiates, we should ban the Percocet and Vicodin because the acetaminophen in them is the dangerous part? Apparently opiates are fine.

A federal advisory panel voted narrowly on Tuesday to recommend a ban on Percocet and Vicodin, two of the most popular prescription painkillers in the world, because of their effects on the liver.

The two drugs combine a narcotic with acetaminophen, the ingredient found in popular over-the-counter products like Tylenol and Excedrin. High doses of acetaminophen are a leading cause of liver damage, and the panel noted that patients who take Percocet and Vicodin for long periods often need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect.

And then they also suggested lowering the strength of Tylenol per pill in the standard over the counter offering.

the committee voted 24 to 13 to recommend that the F.D.A. reduce the highest allowed dose of acetaminophen in over-the-counter pills like Tylenol to 325 milligrams, from 500.

Do you  think that people who already engage in risky high dosage behavior are going to discontinue this behavior? No, the warnings are there to help people who pay attention. Anyone who neglects the instructions today is still going to neglect the instructions tomorrow.

It does say clearly on the bottle

Do not take more than 8 tablets, caplets, gelcaps or tablespoons in 24 hours.

You are ingesting a chemical designed to alter you body chemistry. RTFM!

My decision? Nope, its their decision.

When you hand over the checkbook to your healthcare, you also hand over the ultimate decision making as well. Remember when Nancy Pelosi said that birth control will stimulate the economy? This is the same line of thinking and it all leads to the same ugly term that no one likes to talk about. Eugenics.

From his own words

President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care.

He added: "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."

So if I have 6-12 months to live, I have to spend it in bed because it will save you some money? I don’t think that’s your decision!

Defining “don’t stand to gain” is dangerous game when the bureaucrats doing the defining are motivated by fiscal policy of “the greater good.”

Monday, June 29, 2009

Betraying the Planet?

Crisis.Crisis.Crisis. In today’s fast food you-tube attention span world, that seems to be the only way to get anything done. Declare a crisis.

I think Paul Krugman is jockeying to be Al Gore’s right hand man now.

The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course.

My favorite bit is that he compares this “crisis” to the Bush administration’s “existential threat” to America because of terrorism – except his crisis is real and the Bush one was not. The real difference Paul? We actually have bodies to back up the terrorism threat.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cleaner, costlier climate bill slips past House

Cap and trade passed the House as a squeaker at 219-212.  This is what Rahm Emmanuel meant by “never letting a crisis go to waste.” You get into power, declare an emergency, and start passing items carte blanche regardless of their connection to the crisis. The Republicans were guilty of that as well, but the Democrats went and upped the game adding a whole new set of zeroes onto the cost of everything that they jam into the “crisis”.

Climate change tide turning?

When an Op-Ed is published to more than one of the blogs you follow, you have to read it. Both Voxopoli and John Stossel’s Take pointed out Kim Strassel’s long list of people changing their minds and standing up to the Green Gestapo. Not afraid to be called “deniers”. And more acceptance that the science is not settled.

Steve Fielding is an Australian Senator, and when trying to decide on whether to support some carbon emission legislation in his Senate he decided to get some info from the guys who proclaim it the loudest.

Steve Fielding recently asked the Obama administration to reassure him on the science of man-made global warming. When the administration proved unhelpful, Mr. Fielding decided to vote against climate-change legislation.

You’ld think that they would consider this such a big deal – and they need global cooperation to solve the “problem” – that they would have come up with something to help convince him. Or could they?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Strange bedfellows

What will the L.A. gangbangers say when they find out that the web site that sells them

some of the hardest authentic jail house threads for the streets.

is run by same cop who kicked a gangbanger in the head on camera last month after the suspect laid down with his arms spread to allow himself to be arrested.

Some expansion of student privacy

Good news for privacy advocates - mostly. Government schools cannot strip search their students unless they really think its necessary. From the SCOTUS opinion

what was missing from the suspected facts that pointed to Savana was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear. We think that the combination of these deficiencies was fatal to finding the search reasonable.

So, if the untrained school’s administrator’s assistant suspected that there was (1) something dangerous and (2) had reason to believe it was in her underwear, then they could strip search a minor?

If she is carrying something imminently dangerous, it most likely wouldn’t be stored in her underwear. If its not an imminent danger and you know its in her underwear – detain her and call the authorities who actually are trained to deal with this!

Also, they did give us this nugget. The government can’t abuse your rights if they just turn their head away

but a strip search and its Fourth Amendment consequences are not defined by who was looking and how much was seen.

I wonder how that logic applies to “But I just read it for the articles!”

The first guy

Can you imagine being the first guy to be convicted because of fingerprint evidence? (or more modernly - DNA evidence)

“You got nothing on me coppers! Wait. Um, what’s that you say? Everything I touch?!?! Awww crap.”

Now the state of Florida is taking DNA samples from every single Felony arrest just cuz. And yes, that is “arrest” not “conviction”

Now fingerprinting is not considered a 4th amendment violation because it “involves none of the probing into an individual's private life and thoughts that marks an interrogation or search.” (Davis v. Mississippi, 394 U.S. 721, 727 (1969)) but doesn't DNA sampling go a little further than that? It requires taking a piece of you, not the equivalent of an image of you (like a fingerprint). There isn’t anything more private than your self. If there is a good reason to get the sample then go ahead. But you cant just go get one from everyone just because you can and its easy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

All Apologies

Now I know there has been a bunch of noise regarding the whole Palin vs Letterman stuff going on lately, but now that David Letterman has made a second length apologize I noticed something different that no one else I’ve heard has pointed out.

This was not your usual politician/celebrity apology in which they say “Yes I said that. No I meant something else. And IF you were offended then I’m sorry you were offended.”

Most public apologies come across with language that includes “if” and “but” which means its a conditional apology – which means its not an apology! Its actually an accusation that the audience was too stupid to understand the discussion (and that they are sorry you are too stupid).

Letterman said flat out (paraphrasing) “I said that. I didn't mean it that way, but that's the way it was interpreted and that's still my fault. Its my responsibility to make sure its interpreted correctly. I’m sorry and I’ll try to better in the future.”

No conditions. Just responsibility. Kudos Mr. Letterman!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Census 2.0

I heard recently that a new census form was popping up. Its called the American Community Survey.There is a 64 page document on the US Census site which describes what this is for and why we “need” it.

This is not supplemental to the 10 year detailed survey. It replaces it.

The federal government needs to know basic census data at a minimum to do things like decide how many representatives each state receives, but they do not need to know some of the things the new survey is gathering like

“Journey to Work” includes data on means of transportation (automobile, bus, bicycle, walking), travel time (both duration and time departed), and whether or not a carpool is used.

Plumbing Facilities
House Heating Fuel
Fertility [?? really ??]

There is a whole appendix for detailing the differences between the old survey and the new one. Some include how they determine residency. The new standard is “have you lived there 2 months?” Really? That means that any transient population shows up as long term residents that affect decisions! It also significantly changes the demographics of every college town in the country. This also means that any natural disaster that displaces a number of people (like a hurricane) for any significant period of time is going to skew numbers quite quickly.

When they compare switching from the old form to the new ACS (page 9) the change is

more akin to switching from reliance on an internal
combustion engine to a hybrid.

you get an idea of who thought this was a good idea.

I also wonder if this is part of the effect of shifting who oversees the US Census bureau.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Communists not related to Communism?

I like to poke around the state and federal statutes when I have nothing better to do. Try searching for the word “communist” in your local states legislation. In Texas you can’t be on the ballot or be appointed to an office if you are a “communist”

Sec. 557.022.  RESTRICTIONS.  (a)  The name of a communist may not be printed on the ballot for any primary or general election in this state or a political subdivision of this state.

(b)  A person may not hold a nonelected office or position with the state or any political subdivision of the state if:

(1)  any of the compensation for the office or position comes from public funds of this state or a political subdivision of this state; and

(2)  the employer or superior of the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is a communist.

So, thought crimes aside, the most interesting thing is that being a communist can have absolutely nothing to do with communism.

Sec. 557.021.  DEFINITIONS.  In this subchapter:

(1)  "Communist" means a person who commits an act reasonably calculated to further the overthrow of the government:

(A)  by force or violence; or

(B)  by unlawful or unconstitutional means and replace it with a communist government.

(2)  "Department" means the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas.

(3)  "Government" means the government of this state or any of its political subdivisions.

Are you a forceful or violent revolutionary? Then you are a commie! Although peaceably replacing the government with a communist government seems ok. As does forcefully going after the Feds, just not the state or local governments.

Everything is better with zombies

Including Jane Austin!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!