Policy

KK tweets My latest @ISSUESinST feature just went online. It covers some sensitive issues in ecology & climate spheres. It's kinda standard fodder, headlined "The Science Police" in order to wind you up, like The Fail, bylined On highly charged issues, such as climate change and endangered species, peer review literature and public discourse are aggressively patrolled by self-appointed sheriffs in the scientific community. Provocative or wot? I'll skip the ecology, because I have no expertise there, and come on to the climate. Which is... RP Jr. And if you don't know who he is, KK…
We’ve written extensively (e.g., here, here, here, and here) about the problems with Congressional Republicans’ healthcare legislation, which would gut Medicaid and make it far harder for older people to afford individual health insurance plans, all in order to fund tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest. But the process by which Republicans are trying to pass their bill is equally alarming, and potentially disastrous for the future of the US legislative process. An imperfect but useful status quo Passing major legislation should involve extensive consideration of proposals’ likely impacts.…
Another couple of weeks' worth of stories about how science is faring under the Donald Trump regime. If I'm missing anything important, please let me know either in the comments or at my email jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you want to use a non-work email for me, it's dupuisj at gmail dot com. The selections are by no means meant to represent a comprehensive account of everything written about science over the last couple of weeks. I'm aiming for something representative rather than complete or comprehensive. For example, there are probably hundreds of articles written about the Paris Climate…
Because there’s so much at stake as the Senate considers the American Health Care Act, here are some important articles on healthcare legislation: Andy Slavitt in the Washington Post: The Senate’s three tools on health care: Sabotage, speed and secrecy Dylan Scott at Vox: Senate Republicans are closer to repealing Obamacare than you think Elena Marks in the Houston Chronicle: The American Health Care Act: a civic and moral failure Vann R. Newkirk II in The Atlantic: How the American Health Care Act Would Affect Mental-Health Coverage Emma Sandoe at her personal blog: How the HIV outbreak in…
Short answer: No, we do not shoot them. But the argument that we don’t shoot them is not as simple as it seems. Rand Paul: Shoot the CongressmanRight Wing: The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow us to be armed, so we can shoot at the government when we need to. (This section has been heavily modified at the request of Senator Paul) The purpose of the second amendment, and the reason to stay heavily armed and to be prepared to use the firearms the Constitution guarantees we can keep, is to lift tyranny should it befall the land. An increasing number of people now realize that a president…
In the politics edition I made some amazingly prescient comments that now appear somewhat dated. Not quite definitively wrong4 - next week will seal that - but before the election itself it will be fun to write down what I think to see how it stacks up against what happens. Less than two months ago I said What will happen? Labour will do badly, obviously and I don't see anyone disagreeing with that, then. Now we have the Torygraph saying stuff like Labour continue to narrow the gap on the Conservatives, with the General Election's latest polls and odds showing that Theresa May may not…
For people who are wondering why I'm not doing more of my patented chronologies or collections of posts, the answer is pretty simple. There's so damn much going on it's hard for me to find the time and mental energy to bring it all together. I'm currently working on posts covering the Trump budget proposal as well as the story about the various issue with the Environmental Protection Agency. I'm not sure when I'll get to complete those, but in both cases the story is on-going. I'm also hoping to do an update on the March for Science post. I may also compile the story around Paris Agreement…
In early May, House Republicans rushed to pass an amended version of the American Health Care Act (HR 1628) without waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to give them an estimate of how it would affect health insurance coverage nationwide. Now, CBO has released a score that shows just how destructive this legislation will be if it becomes law: It will increase the number of uninsured by 23 million over the next decade by slashing Medicaid, allowing the destabilization of the individual markets in areas where one-sixth of the US population resides, and putting individual policies out of…
I hesitated over discussing this story because it only comes from one source and that source is not one that I normally trust, The Washington Free Beacon. It might be fake news. On the other hand, it is a story that is not implausible and appears to be reasonably well reported, complete with a reproduction of an invitation to the event being reported on. Moreover, even though this particular source is unabashedly conservative and partisan, it has done some reporting that even Nick Baumann at Mother Jones admitted to be pretty good. So it is with a little bit of trepidation that I note this…
I apologise for breaking into the stream of politics for some science: Temperatures in the Arctic are increasing around three times as fast as the global average, yet the pace of warming has been much slower at Earth’s other pole. A new study, just published in Earth System Dynamics, suggests the difference might – in part – be down to the great heights of Antarctica’s land surface. The article is The polar amplification asymmetry: role of Antarctic surface height by Marc Salzmann. And since it's open-access I'm sure they won't mind me copying from their abstract: Previous studies have…
Its like this. Only with Trump instead of Josh, and it is real life. Yet, less like real life. Trump, remembering something about watergate, tweets: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/863007411132649473 and the Washington Post reports: Trump suggests there may be ‘tapes’ of his private conversations with former FBI director Trump experiences verbal diarrhea and says, "In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should…
Last week, 217 Republican members of the House of Representatives passed a bill that, if it becomes law, will leave millions of people without health insurance. We don’t have a good grasp of how many millions will be harmed, because they were in too much of a hurry to wait for an estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — or, in some cases, to read the bill they were voting on. My guess is that most of those members know it’s a terrible bill that will harm many of their constituents, and they’re hoping the Senate will fix the mess they’ve made. Like the original American…
The ascendancy of Donald Trump to the presidency, the selection of his cabinet and senior advisers, and the actions of the GOP-dominated legislative branch have all raised new serious questions and concerns about the role of science, research, and analysis in national law and policy. These concerns have been worsened by elements of the new administration’s proposed budget that severely cut or eliminate core federal science efforts, Congressional hearings and actions that have been perceived to promote ideological viewpoints over scientific findings, presidential executive orders that attempt…
Back in March, House Republicans pulled the unpopular and highly problematic American Health Care Act from consideration, and House Minority Leader Paul Ryan declared “Obamacare is the law of the land.” Now, however House Republicans are trying again to undo the Affordable Care Act. Last week, Representative Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) introduced an amendment designed to win over the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, who opposed the original AHCA because it didn’t do enough to roll back existing law. As the New York Times’ Margot Sanger-Katz summarizes, the amendment would allow states to receive…
The Republican line is this: Bring back coal, shut down development, subsidies, any encouragement at all, for solar and wind energy. There is absolutely no logic to this policy, but it is in fact the policy. The reason for it is generally thought to be that the big rich corporations and individuals that control coal and petroleum resources, and that are fully engaged in delivery of those energy sources (and other materials, such as plastic bags made of petroleum) pay off the politicians to support their businesses. And that is true, they do this. But that does not explain why regular…
Anyone who has been reading this blog for the last three years or so knows that I'm not a fan of "right-to-try" laws. Basically such laws, which have sprung up like kudzu since 2014 and now exist in 33 states, purport to allow terminally ill patients the "right to try" experimental therapeutics. Thus far, they have been sold to the public as giving terminally ill patients "one last shot" and touting how such laws could save lives. As a result, as I've grimly quipped on multiple occasions, to politicians opposing right-to-try laws is akin to opposing motherhood, apple pie, and the American…
Indivisible is a lot like #Occupy but instead of being in tents, we are intense in other ways. I have been at a few Indivisible meetings over the last few weeks. One of the questions I have about the movement is this: How many people in Indivisible now had voted for Trump, or in my case, our local Republican house representative, Erik Paulsen, or the like, elsewhere? Also, how many people in Indivisible had not voted at all in the last election, or at least, were not reliable voters? And, how many people in Indivisible had voted, and generally voted Democratic/Progressive/Whatever but had…
In the 18 days between House Republicans’ introduction of the American Health Care Act and its withdrawal, women’s health was in the spotlight. With House Speaker Paul Ryan now stating that he’s going to try again on legislation to “replace” the Affordable Care Act, it’s worth looking at some of the ways the ACA has benefited women – and how actions from Congress and the Trump administration could affect women’s insurance coverage and access to care. Women gained coverage under the ACA The ACA’s biggest achievement was reducing the percentage of the population without health insurance. It did…
Many of us breathed sighs of relief on Friday when House Speaker Paul Ryan announced the withdrawal of legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act. The bill, the American Health Care Act, would have resulted in 24 million people losing insurance and $880 billion less for Medicaid over the next 10 years -- while giving an $883 billion tax cut targeted to the wealthiest. At town hall meetings and over the phones, members of Congress heard from constituents urging them to leave the ACA’s coverage expansions in place. Yet the bill’s defeat doesn’t mean that the idea of healthcare coverage…
Yesterday, House Republicans failed to find enough votes to pass their Affordable Care Act replacement. It was a very good day for the millions of Americans projected to lose their coverage under the GOP plan. But let’s be clear: Obamacare is not safe. In a last-ditch effort to round up more votes, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., proposed an amendment that would have, beginning in 2018, allowed states to determine the kinds of essential health benefits required in insurance plans purchased with tax credits. Under Obama’s health care law, insurance plans sold via the federal health care…