Policy

Recent news has highlighted just how important and popular the Affordable Care Act has been, but its fate under a Trump administration and Republican Congress is uncertain. Congressional Republicans have voted repeatedly to repeal the ACA, but now that they actually have a shot at doing that, journalists and commentators are focusing on how hard it will be to preserve the provisions voters like and politicians vow to keep – let alone the gains in insurance coverage and financial stability. Between the law’s passage in 2010 and early 2016, an estimated 20 million people gained health insurance…
Time to make sure you are stocked up and up to date on your climate science books. First, you will need reference materials throughout the holiday season, because Uncle Bob is going to challenge you more stridently than usual. Climate change deniers have taken over the US government. You are on the run. Underground. Up against the wall. So, you need to be ready. Uncle Bob is coming for you. Second, you may want to give a few climate change related books away for the holidays. Know any science or social studies teachers? Maybe a nice book for Uncle Bob's wife? Ha, that would be funny. Anyway…
This is going to be a bit of a rant, because there's a recurring theme in my recent social media that's really bugging me, and I need to vent. I'm going to do it as a blog post rather than an early-morning tweetstorm, because tweets are more likely to be pulled out of context, and then I'm going to unfollow basically everybody that isn't a weird Twitter bot or a band that I like, and try to avoid politics until the end of the year. Also, I'll do some physics stuff. This morning saw the umpteenth reshared tweetstorm (no link because it doesn't matter who it was) berating people who write about…
I’m always hesitant to write about matters that are more political than scientific or medical, although sometimes the sorts of topics that I blog about inevitably require it (e.g., the 21st Century Cures Act, an act that buys into the myth that to bring "cures" to patients faster we have to neuter the FDA and a retooled version of which is still being considered). This is one of those times. Yesterday, I woke up to the news that President-Elect Donald Trump had chosen Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as his new Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),…
When I go to Thanksgiving, all the people there will be reasonable. Also, this will be in Minnesota where politics are not discussed. And if they are discussed, my Father-in-Law has well developed techniques to run interference, as is his responsibility as head of the hosting household. There will be chairs to get from the basement (always wait until the last second to ask Greg to help with the chairs, just in case he starts talking politics!). The dogs are trained to make a fuss when given secret hand signals. That sort of thing. But you may not be as fortunate as I am. Perhaps you will…
In the days following the 2016 election, reports of hate crimes and harassment have spiked, and experts have described it as being worse than in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks. Between Wednesday, November 9 (the day after the election) and the morning of November 14, the Southern Poverty Law Center had collected 437 of hateful intimidation and harassment – and noted that “many incidents involved direct references to the Trump campaign and its slogans.” I spent part of the weekend reading news and opinion pieces about Donald Trump and US racism and xenophobia. The excerpts…
It’s been two weeks since Donald Trump unexpectedly won the Presidential election despite losing the popular vote. Regular readers of my not-so-super-secret other blog know my opinion of this; so I won’t belabor it too much here. If you’re curious, I have written about Donald Trump’s antivaccine views here many times dating back to 2007, and, amusingly, I’ve even been at the receiving end of criticism from an “integrative medicine” activist in which my snark was compared to that of Donald Trump and my criticism labeled not just once, but twice. As you might imagine, I was not pleased. Leaving…
It has been drawn to my attention that Myron Ebell will be Mr. Trump’s lead agent in choosing personnel and setting the direction of the federal agencies that address climate change and environmental policy. Not everyone is entirely happy about this3 and doubtless Trump will be distressed by that, but he is unlikely to take this unexpected opposition too seriously. Scratching my head and trying to think of a contrarian way to approach the matter, I thought I'd try reading what he has actually said, instead of reading what other people who don't like him say. First of all, slightly to my…
Or, The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government3. From Tacitus, Annals. I wanted to say something about the Trump victory over Hillary2. I find that writing down what I actually want to say is difficult, because my thoughts are not entirely clear on the matter. But - searching for a latin proverb about the weather, since today's Fours Head looks to be rather damp1 - I ran across this, which whilst not covering in breadth everything that needs to be said, does I think have depth. Coming soon: what Hayek and Hobbes have to say on Brexit, and funny quotes from the Times. Notes 1…
If you’re a skeptic dedicated to promoting science and reason, these are scary times. My country, the United States of America, just unexpectedly elected a racist, misogynistic, conspiracy-mongering, scientific ignoramus (who, by the way, is rabidly antivaccine) as its next President thanks to the political relic known as the Electoral College. In actuality, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by close to 350,000 votes at the last tally I checked this morning, but now, as in 2000, thanks to the Electoral College, the candidate with the most popular votes is not President-Elect. Hillary…
Donald Trump is the president elect of the United States. Why? Trump did not win because he is widely liked. He is NOT widely liked. A very small number of Americans voted for Trump, and this number was magnified by the conservative-state-favoring electoral college, and most of those who did not vote for him not only don’t prefer him, but find him truly abhorrent. During the campaign, and over his 70 year long life, Donald trump has done or said myriad things each of which is fully disqualifying to be a candidate for president. These deplorable things are, of course, the reason he won this…
Well, I’m back. Yes, late last night, I re-entered returned home from vacation in Mexico before our new President-Elect has a chance to build his wall. I was so exhausted that I had no time to write anything and remain so. At least I wasn’t stupid enough to go back to work today and instead took the whole week off. Like most of you, I’m still processing he cluster—oh, wait, no major profanity here—that was the US election, whose results definitely put a damper on the trip home. In particular, I fear for what the new administration will do to science in this country, and might write about that…
Remember those clowns a few weeks ago? The scary clowns? I think they were trying to tell us something. Did you know that 235,248,000 people are eligible to vote in the United States? Fewer than 120,000,000 of those people bothered to show up to vote this year, and turnout was considered high. Of those, about half, or one quarter of the voting population, elected a clown as our leader, because the clown promised to take steps to ensure a continued white majority in the United States. That’s what happened in my world last night. What happened in your world? Between the bouts of…
Um, well, yes. What is this stuff? Pointed out to me first by Russell - see-also his Troglodyte narrative. This is about something sent to, or from, John Podesta which has surfaced via the increasingly-suspect Wikileaks. Which is to say MEMORANDUM JANUARY 28, 2014. CLIMATE: A UNIFYINF THEORY TO THE CASE. An unified theory of climate? Excellent... we've all been looking for that. After reading some dodgy websites I think it was sent by Chris Lehane ("a Democratic strategist and Steyer confidant"; or, if you're RS, one of "K-Street's famed Masters of Disaster". I don't even know what K-…
As I write this, the 2016 Election is lurching painfully to its conclusion, with about a week to go. In my entire adult life, dating back to when I first reached the age where I started paying attention to politics in the late 1970s, I cannot remember a more bizarre or painful election, nor can I remember an election in which one possible outcome actually terrifies me. I’m referring to the possibility of Donald Trump becoming our next President. I’ve made no secret of my contempt for his xenophobia, his blatant sexism and misogyny, his change from using racist dog whistles to racist bullhorns…
The news over the past 24 hours has exclaimed over and over: HIV's Patient Zero Exonerated How scientists proved the wrong man was blamed for bringing HIV to the U.S. Researchers Clear "Patient Zero" from AIDS Origin Story H.I.V. Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’ Gaetan Dugas: "patient zero" not source of HIV/AIDS outbreak, study confirms HIV's supposed "Patient Zero" in the U.S., Gaetan Dugas, is off the hook! He wasn't responsible for our outbreak! This is presented as new information. Gaetan Dugas, from Wikipedia. It is not, and I think by focusing on the "exoneration" of…
Here we go again. Naturopaths crave legitimacy for their brand of pseudoscientific medicine. Basically, they delude themselves into thinking that they are real doctors and can function as primary care providers, despite abundant evidence that they cannot. they One (of several) ways they seek to acquire that legitimacy for naturopathy and themselves is through promoting the passage of laws in states licensing them as health care providers, as they have been repeatedly doing (and, fortunately, thus far failing to achieve) in my home state of Michigan and continuing to attempt in Massachusetts…
Post-referendum thoughts, and indeed Say no to Brexit refer. But so do Timmy's NO, DON'T LET MPS HAVE A VOTE ON BREXIT (Timmy is very shouty, as you'd expect) and The Brexit Conundrum - Freedom Of Movement Means Only Hard, Or Clean, Brexit Is Possible (so perhaps it is the ASI that is shouty. Well, you know what they're like). Before we get into all the messy and unpleasant politics, here's a picture. Chamois against the Pelvoux, seen from where the glacier Jean Gauthier used to be. You should see my close-up of a marmotte. Anyway, onwards. [Far too late update: I've now added the question…
I’m sure that most of you watched the Presidential debate on Monday night, just as I did. Over the years, these debates have always always painful for me to watch, given the candidates’ tendency to answer the question they want to answer rather than the question actually answered; to find ways to spew prepackaged talking points into answers, whether they’re related to the question or not; and, above all, to see how much spin they can get away with. Particularly annoying is when they pander to their base with particularly brain dead bon mots. Candidates from both parties do it, of course, but…
Why is America the Greatest Country in the World? Diversity and opportunity. And freedom. Lots of freedom, freedom is great. I can tell you, I know freedom and I know we have lots of it, more than any other country. And diversity, we've almost got that under control too. But seriously ... If you are like me, the tirade eventually given by the protagonist in the following clip was already formulating in your head for the first two minutes of this scene, and when it spilled out (in a form better than you or I would have managed), you were like "Yeah. Go baby!" (Or words to that effect.) It is…