Politics

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Politics

Oh, goody. Remember last week, when I took note of how organized quackery’s best friend in Congress, not to mention a shining example of crank magnetism, Representative Dan Burton of Indiana, was taking the opportunity of his having announced that he would not be running for reelection this year to write a typically brain dead…

Dan Burton’s last antivaccine hurrah?

A couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but rejoice when I learned that Indiana Representative Dan Burton had finally, after twenty years in the U.S. House of Representatives, decided to retire after the end of this term. I thought that anyone in the U.S. who supports science-based medicine should rejoice, too, because I’m hard-pressed…

The U.S. is widely known to have the highest health care expenditures per capita in the world, and not just by a little, but by a lot. I’m not going to go into the reasons for this so much, other than to point out that how to rein in these costs has long been the…

It just occurred to me that, even though there was news about it, I never mentioned what’s happened recently with respect to California bill AB2109. As you might recall, I wrote about this bill about four weeks ago. In brief, this bill, if passed into law, would require that California parents seeking a “personal belief”…

This week, the Supreme Court is hearing a case that can only be described as historic. Any of you out there (in the U.S. anyway; I realize that my readership is international) who have paid even a passing attention to the news can’t help but avoid reporting, debate, and polemics related to the Patient Protection…

It would appear that Dr. Bob Sears, author of The Vaccine Book, is in the news again. Specifically, he’s brought himself back into the spotlight by publishing in that wretched hive of scum and quackery, The Huffington Post, a fallacy-filled attack on a bill in California, AB 2109, designed to tighten up the process for…

I’ve discussed the concept of “misinformed consent” multiple times before. Quacks in general, particularly the “health freedom” movement proclaim their dedication to “informed consent.” “All we’re asking for,” they will say, “is informed consent.” The antivaccine movement in particular demands “informed consent” about vaccines. Be it Barbara Loe Fisher, the bloggers at the antivaccine crank…

I don’t know what it is about the beginning of a year. I don’t know if it’s confirmation bias or real, but it sure seems that something big happens early every year in the antivaccine world. Consider. As I pointed out back in February 2009, in rapid succession Brian Deer reported that Andrew Wakefield had…

Politics versus science

I’ve always been reluctant to attribute antiscientific attitudes to one political persuasion or another–and justly so, or so I thought. While it’s true that antiscience on the right is definitely more prominent these days, with the Republican candidates conducting virtual seminars on how to deny established science. Evolution? They don’t believe in it because, apparently,…

Here’s a rare bit of good news on the regulatory front. It turns out that Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) has finally decided to retire: So Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) is finally retiring, after two decades in Congress. He’s got a notable record of craziness, having doggedly pursued President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal…

Which alt-med is which Republican candidate?

Best analogy ever? I think it’s a contender, straight from Balloon Juice: The Republican party in Iowa reminds me of a patient with a terminal disease (Romneyitis) desperately turning to alternative medacine. They’ve cycled through homeopathy (Bachmann), naturopathy (Cain), chelation (Perry) and aromatherapy (Paul). Now they’ve hit the final frontier–urotherapy. I’m glad that I’ve never…

One last example of crank magnetism for 2011

OK, I know I said that this morning’s post would likely be the last post of 2011, but then–wouldn’t you know it?–the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism had to go and post a post entitled AAPS on Vaccine Exemptions. I think it deserves a brief mention today for the simple reason that it’s a…

I thought I’d be leaving the topic of Dr. Stanislaw Burzysnki and his combination of Personalized Cancer Therapy for Dummies-level “personalized, gene-targeted cancer therapy” coupled with his “cancer-curing” antineoplastons, which have morphed into an orphan HDAC inhibitor used off-label as part of his pricey everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” combination of targeted therapies and old-fashioned chemotherapy. After all I…

I’ve written about the concept of “misinformed” consent with respect to the anti-vaccine movement. To summarize, “misinformed consent” is a perversion of the concept of informed consent in which cranks claim to be championing true informed consent (and, by implication, that opponents have not) when in fact they are presenting a scientifically unsupportable assessment of…

I’ve gotten into quite a few arguments over whether there is more anti-science nonsense on the right or the left lately. Actually, none of these arguments have been on the blog, mainly because I tend not to relish getting into discussions that are far more weighted towards politics than actual science or medicine. Still, sometimes…

I don’t often blog about politics anymore. As I’ve said on more than one occasion, political bloggers are a dime a dozen. Rare is the one that interests me much. However, sometimes things happen that lead me to make an exception, except that this time it’s not really an exception because it has to do…

Ten years ago today

Once again we come to another September 11. It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since that horrible day. It’s become my tradition over the last few years to post this video as a reminder of what happened that day. This video was shot by Bob and Bri, who in 2001 lived in…

It’s always frightening when lawyers delve into the realm of medicine. It’s even worse when pre-law students and political science majors do the same. Such was the thought running through my mind when I came across the most recent issue of the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law. The result is what I would most…

I admire Brian Deer. I really do. He’s put up with incredible amounts of abuse and gone to amazing lengths to unmask the vaccine quack Andrew Wakefield, the man whose fraudulent case series published in The Lancet thirteen years ago launched a thousand quack autism remedies and, worst of all, contributed to a scare over…

I just saw something I don’t see every day. Or every week. Or every month. Or even every year. I frequently complain about supplements on this blog. Well, not supplements per se but rather the double standard we have in this country when it comes to supplements. Basically, supplements are about as close to unregulated…

I saw this story on Friday and almost couldn’t wait the weekend to blog about it. However, since the conference that was brought to my attention isn’t until November, I ultimately decided that it would keep. At least until now. This story is about Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health. Unlike…

Why is it that so many bloggable items tend to pop up right before holidays? Whatever the reason, whether my perception that this is the case is accurate or simply the result of confirmation bias on my part, last Friday a little tidbit of popped up that seriously tempted me to blog about it. But…

A couple of weeks ago, the anti-vaccine movement took a swing for the fences and, as usual, made a mighty whiff that produced a breeze easily felt in the bleachers. In brief, a crew of anti-vaccine lawyers named headed by Mary Holland, co-author of Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten…

Here’s a brief one for you all. Former UPI editor and now editor of the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism has a talent for incredibly un-self-aware statements. This time around, in the wake of President Obama’s having released his “long form” birth certificate, ol’ Danny Boy posted a quickie statement (in amongst a bunch…

Osama bin Laden…dead. Finally.

After more than ten years, finally, Osama bin Laden is dead: This is such monumental news that I think it’s appropriate to pause blogging in order to pay tribute to the brave men and women who finally not only killed the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11 but brought his body back. Well done! I’ve written about…