Tuesday , November 19 2019
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Articles by run75441

Italy to make climate change study compulsory in schools

3 hours ago

Reuters: Italy will become the first nation to require all schoolchildren to study climate change and sustainable development.
Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement: “The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model. All state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year or almost one hour per school week to climate change issues from the start of the next academic year in September 2020.
I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school.”
Fioramonti goes on; “The entire education ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the

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Some Election Results

12 days ago

I am not quite sure how to begin other than say I am angry at why it has to come to this , and still not enough, before people react.
Loudoun County, Virginia: One election event ended positively for a woman who had given Trump’s motorcade (and supposedly Trump) a message of defiance, a one finger salute, as it passed her while she was riding her bike. Former government contractor Julie Briskman won a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Ms. Briskman defeated eight-year Republican incumbent, Suzanne Volpe and this is her first time in elected office.

Virginia House: Gaining 15 seats in the House in 2017; in 2019, Democrats added another five seats and perhaps a few more as other races are still to be decided. Democrats in Virginia

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Another Look at Drug Pricing, Costs, and Why

13 days ago

Median total costs Table for the most common prescriptions of each of the 49 high-volume brand-name drugs from 2012 through 2017 as detailed in JAMA Network Open’s “Trends in Prices of Popular Brand-Name Prescription Drugs in the United States” 2019.”
A Bit of A Summary: This particular table relates back to a post I wrote; Trends in Prices of Popular Brand-Name Prescription Drugs in the United States, JAMA Network Open, Nathan E. Wineinger; Yunyue Zhang; Eric J. Topol, May 2019
Unsupported Price Increase Report, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review; David M. Rind, Foluso Agboola, Varun M. Kumar, Eric Borrelli, Steven D. Pearson; October 2019
Technical Report, Pricing of cancer medicines and its impacts; World Health Organization; 2019
While

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DC Circuit grants Postal Watchdog’s challenge to PRC’s approval of rate hike on Forever stamps

18 days ago

An introduction to Save the Post Office and Steve Hutkins. I am not quite sure how I got to Steve; but, I do remember chatting with Mark Jamison who also wrote at Save the Post Office and posting his words up at Angry Bear (Asking the Wrong Questions: Reflections on Amazon, the Post Office, and the Greater Good earlier this year. Mark and I still exchange emails and I owe him a trip out to western North Carolina. Steve is the blog owner, a Prof. of Literature teaching “place studies” at the Gallatin School of New York University. Prof. Steve Hutkins has been writing about the Post Office for at least a decade and the attempts of government, UPS, Fedex, etc. to close it down or limit its operations.
“Save The Post Office” has been writing about the last 5

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Georgetown University Report Finds Number of Uninsured Children Now at Highest Levels –

19 days ago

Since Major Provisions of Affordable Care Act Took Effect
Key Findings:
The number of uninsured children in the United States increased by more than 400,000 between 2016 and 2018 bringing the total to over 4 million uninsured children in the nation.
These coverage losses are widespread with 15 states showing statistically significant increases in the number and/or rate of uninsured children (Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia), and only one state (North Dakota) moving in the right direction.
Loss of coverage is most pronounced for white children and Latino children (some of which may fall into both categories), young children under age 6, and children

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Republican Renegade Emulates Warren’s Student Loan Cancellation, but it’s Still Problematic

21 days ago

Today we have a commentary  by Student Loan Justice Organization Founder Alan Collinge with support from an Angry Bear editor.
Alan:
A key Republican Education Department official and Trump Appointee, A. Wayne Johnson, recently resigned his position at the Department and later made a radical call for student loan cancellation. Johnson noted the lending system was “fundamentally broken” and called for loan cancellation for all loan holders up to $50,000. He also called for a tax credit of the same amount for those who have already repaid their loans. Interestingly, Johnson’s plan sounds very similar- and even more generous- than what presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is proposing.
The proposal is strong stuff coming from a Republican and his comments

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Michigan

26 days ago

EM:
The Repubs have a difficult time blocking national and state wide elections for Pres and Senators in Michigan. It is only when they pack a district or parcel a majority into several districts are they able to achieve a win in places where a fair election will contest who does win. In any case, the 11,000 difference between Trump and Clinton was due to record turnout in voting for “others” in 2016 as compared to 2012. I would attribute this to lies about Clinton on things disproven (Benghazi, security breaches, etc.) multiple times, “what-was-I-thinking” Comey’s two announcements so near to election day, and a failure of the Democratic National Committee paying attention to Michigan. This last go around (2018), we were able to pick up congressional

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Former Senator Harry Reid on President Trump

29 days ago

David Axelrod interviewing former Senator Harry Reid on the Axe Files
There is too much going on with Trump and I believe he is purposely doing much of this as a distraction and also to antagonize Democrats. Abandoning the Kurds certainly draws a response from Democrats and most of the Republicans remain silent on things they know to be wrong. For some reason I believe he is setting the stage for something else to occur. If we as Democrats are wrong, all of our actions will reflect poorly on us and for sure he will make fun of our failures.
Reid — a savvy political operator whose moves reshaped Senate procedures such as the elimination of filibusters for most nominations by president, were criticized by Republicans during his time in Congress. Reid in the

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Unsubstantiated Drug Price Increases

October 18, 2019

The ICER (Institute for Clinical and Economic Review)
Is an independent and non-partisan research organization. Its purpose is to evaluate the clinical and economic value of prescription drugs, medical tests, and health care and health care delivery innovations. ICER conducts rigorous analyses of all clinical data with key stakeholders to include patients, doctors, life science companies, private insurers, and the government and translate the evidence into policy decisions that lead to a more effective, efficient, and just health care system.
As explained by their site information, ICER is known as the nation’s independent watchdog on drug pricing. It’s drug assessment reports include a full analysis of how well each new drug works and the resulting

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Resurrected Protester

October 11, 2019

This is news: Jane Fonda Arrested While Protesting in D.C.
Not particularly a news outlet (Hollywood Reporter – Ryan Parker reporting) I would read but, they have it out front and center in reporting on Ms. Fonda protesting about “the industries that are destroying our planet for profit.”
“I will be on the Capitol every Friday, rain or shine, inspired and emboldened by the incredible movement our youth have created. I can no longer stand by and let our elected officials ignore – and even worse – empower – the industries that are destroying our planet for profit. We can not continue to stand for this,”
It is not the first time Ms. Fonda has been taken into custody. She did protest the Vietnam war and taken into custody. Today Ms. Fonda was arrested with 15

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Trump’s Attack on Seniors and Medicare

October 11, 2019

It is a given, Trump’s new executive order  is calling for “market-based” pricing or whatever the market will bear pricing to replace Medicare set pricing. Trump sees a conflict between Medicare and the market. Well he is right; but, his solution ll only aggravate the problem of costs.  It will drive up costs for everyone in Medicare, destroy traditional Medicare as healthcare for the elderly, steer more people into costly commercial healthcare, reduce Medicare funds at a faster pace, and allow the already profitable healthcare industry to increase profits well beyond what it is today.
But, but are Medicare Advantage Plans ripping people and Medicare off? “Yes they are” a for-profit industry is profiteering by taking advantage of a system of healthcare for

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Second Whistle Blower Emerges

October 6, 2019

2nd whistleblower comes forward after speaking with IG: Attorney
The appearance of a second whistleblower will muddy the waters for Herr Trump claiming the first whistleblower got his conversation all wrong.
The existence of a second whistleblower — particularly one who can speak directly about events involving the president related to conversations involving Ukraine — could undercut Trump’s repeated insistence that the original complaint, released on Sept. 26, was “totally inaccurate.”
Attorney Mark Zaid is also representing the 2nd whistleblower. It is said this whistleblower has first hand knowledge of some of the allegations made by the first whistle blower. The 2nd whistleblower has made what is called a “protected disclosure” and can not be

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Trump’s Executive Order, Backdoor Privatization of Medicare – Updated

October 4, 2019

“Trump’s Executive Order is Backdoor Privatization of Medicare,” Social Security Works, Nancy Altman, October 3, 2019
Thursday and I had to search around for someone who is an expert on Medicare Advantage Plans and Original Medicare. Nancy is one of those experts. Friday and Andrew Sprung has his commentary Trump’s Bid To Destroy Medicare up on xpostfactoid blog.
Commercial Healthcare Insurance has been become more and more expensive over the years with copays increasing, deductibles increasing, and premiums going up. Todays commercial healthcare insurance costs a single person ~$7200 and a family ~$20,000 with the single person paying 18% of the premium and a family paying 31% of the premium. Approximately 36 million people make less than $25,000 annually

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Health Benefits for 2019: Premiums Inch Higher, Employers Respond To Federal Policy

October 3, 2019

The argument has been, if people like their private and company sponsored insurance plans they can keep them; but can they afford to do so?
In a recent LA Times and KFF survey, 40 percent of respondents said they had difficulty affording health insurance or health care or had problems paying medical bills. An approximate one-half of respondents said they or a family member skipped or postponed getting health care or prescriptions in the past twelve months due to cost concerns. Those with higher deductibles were more likely to report problems with affordability and were likely to say their insurance worsened over the past five years as compared to people with lower deductibles. Over the last decade, deductibles have increased 162% (see chart below).
The

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“House Democrats’ Drug Price Strategy versus a Cost Strategy”

September 30, 2019

The House Democrats just released their drug pricing plan (summary) on the 19th. I read through it rather quickly and I found it to be interesting and having targets which could work. Rather than jump right into this, let’s talk about purchasing a bit and then what I believe would be better.
In a purchasing negotiation there are two typical ways used to negotiate a price to your company. The first strategy is to tell a supplier you have done a market study, another supplier can offer a better price, and  all things are equal between him and the other supplier. The supplier has a choice of beating the new price or offering something else of value to the customer which will negate the difference and can not be acquired from the other supplier (whip-sawing a

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“Trump’s Call With the Ukrainian President”

September 27, 2019

The White House released this document on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. It details a July call between President Trump and President Zelensky of the Ukraine. About midway through it, there is a warning of the contents not being a “verbatim transcript.” I have taken some time to include the notes (red) which are found at the end of the post and have notated the particular passages to which the notes are detailing. If you need direction other than the notation at the end of the sentences, I can do so. I did not want to alter this more than what I did in adding the word “note.”
It is a surprising transcript showing Trump’s boldness.
The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way

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Birds . . .

September 23, 2019

[embedded content]Not a Human, but a Dance, Atlantic Daily, Ed Yong, September 19, 2019
I do not know about you when you receive a magazine you subscribe to; but when I get mine, I read it from cover to cover. I also send a copy to one who is incarcerated to read and it makes the rounds amongst the inmates. Since I chased prisoners in the service, it is not unusual for me to look after some of them.
Me: This bird has more rhythm than I do.

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Three Mile Island to Close

September 20, 2019

Eighty year old retired salesman John Garver the morning of March 28, 1979 remembers the acrid odor permeating Harrisburg as he walked out of a restaurant in Pennsylvania’s capital city.
“We had this smell in the air, wondering what it was. Well it didn’t take us long to find out … that the accident started.”
Fourteen miles away, the “accident” was unfolding in Unit 2 at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, triggering panic, confusion, and within days an evacuation order.
The partial meltdown sparked national protests, prompted increased safety standards for the nuclear power industry, and largely stymied the industry’s momentum for decades until recent alarm over climate change has made some begin to embrace expanding carbon-free nuclear power.

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“Great Drug Companies Out There”

September 18, 2019

About the time I finished up my post on Biden, I get this article from Dan discussing how Biden is kissing the butts of drug companies to more-than-likely get campaign donations. Everyone else has been concentrating on individual (you know people of lesser means) donations and many candidates have refused to take corporate donations. Biden is not ashamed to take money from corporations. Gee, whata surprise!
Candidate Joe Biden: “By the way, great drug companies out there — except a couple of opioid outfits,” the former vice president told donors at the Dallas home of David Genecov, a craniofacial surgeon.
Biden’s comment came during a discussion of medical research and the cancer “moonshot” initiative he launched during the Obama administration following

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Affordable Housing

September 17, 2019

The other night, ten Democratic presidential, hopeful, nominees took stage and debated their plans for America’s future. There never was a mention beyond a few garbled words hastily thrown together about an issue which is plaguing many young voters ing to raise families and one which has surfaced in my community, the shortage of affordable homes. Senator Elizabeth Warren knows of the issue as she has discussed it in one of her talks, “The Two Income Family.”
Moderators have bypassed the issue and not asked the question of a candidate’s plan for Affordable Housing which is a growing problem for many people in the US especially young people. In lieu of their not asking, here is a site 2020 Because Housing is Built with Ballots from which you can read each

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Joe Biden: “How Are We to Pay for Single Payer Healthcare Alias Medicare for All?”

September 15, 2019

Joe knows the answer to this question and he is baiting the other candidates. Joe has a history of supporting big business interests as witnessed by his aggressive support of the banking industry with bankruptcy laws favoring banking against the needs of citizens and with a special intended harshness when it comes to student loans. Joe has sponsored or cosponsored every bankruptcy bill since 1997. With his question and his healthcare bill, I believe Joe  is courting the healthcare industry and the healthcare insurance industry’s support. Other candidates need to call Joe out on this.
Much of the payment for improved healthcare will come from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies, reducing the increasing cost of hospital inpatient and outpatient care,

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Why Are There More Uninsured Kids?

September 14, 2019

Ms. Seema Verma is the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She is the over seer of Trump’s attempts to repeal the ACA. She is smiling now as there has been a reduction in the numbers of people enrolled in public healthcare such as Medicaid and CHIPS. Why did this occur? States having work requirements for Medicaid, adding more red tape to the application process, cutbacks in in outreach and enrollment funds by the Administration, and instill fear, a chilling purposeful effect, to cause immigrant and mixed-status families to not enroll and even withdraw their children from Medicaid/CHIP. The fear of being deported or given a lower status because you are dependent upon Medicaid and other government programs does much to keep them

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Healthcare News PBM Profits, Expensive Drug(s), Food Protein, and the Opioid Scam

September 8, 2019

“Cigna gets major boost from Express Scripts in Q2,” Robert King, FierceHealthcare, August 1, 2019
And some claim PBMs do not matter in the cost of healthcare? Cigna healthcare insurance generated ~ $38 billion in revenue the second quarter 2019 and a major increase due mostly to a merger with pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts.
According to company financial results released Thursday, Cigna’s pharmacy services business generated $23.5 billion in revenue in the second quarter which represents a massive increase compared to the $1.1 billion generated in the second quarter of 2018. The company reported $1.41 billion in net income.
The major reason for the spike is the gain from the membership and resources achieved from the deal for Express

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Labor Day

September 2, 2019

I was doing my usual reading in the internet world and ran across this comment to another commenter who claimed Labor Day is a made up holiday. A lot of history in this reply:
“‘A made-up holiday that never had a great basis for its existence?’
How about the Ludlow Massacre where 57 miners were killed by Rockefeller guards that set fire to miners tents even though they were on private property? Their union leader was held by two militia members and shot in the back by a third. All they wanted was mine safety, their own doctor instead of a company doctor, an eight-hour day, fair pay and a union. Or how about the five workers shot in the back at McCormick Iron Works as they ran from armed guards. They too were just demonstrating for an eight-hour day and

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Purdue Offers Up $10 – 12 Billion to Settle All Lawsuits – MedPage Update

August 28, 2019

Just revealed:
The opioid/OxyContin maker Purdue and members of the billionaire Sackler family owning the company have offered to settle thousands of lawsuits against the company for $10 to $12 billion. according to people briefed on the offer. More than 2,000 states, cities, and counties across America are pursuing the OxyContin maker over the large bills for cleaning up the opioid crisis — and are deciding whether to accept the offer by Friday. The Financial Times is reporting on this offer from the Sacklers and Purdue.
On August 26, Purdue paid $270 million to Oklahoma and Teva Pharmaceuticals paid $75 million also to Oklahoma.
From the Financial Times: “Purdue said it believes a ‘constructive global resolution is the best way forward’ and is working

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J & J and It’s Subsidiary Janssen’s Actions “Created a Public Nuisance”

August 27, 2019

“The court found that Johnson & Johnson’s actions had created a “public nuisance,” which Oklahoma law defines to mean an act (or failure to act) that ‘annoys, injures or endangers’ the health and safety of an ‘entire community.’
In a 42-page opinion, Oklahoma State Judge Thad Balkman details how Johnson & Johnson’s sales and marketing assured doctors the appearance of addiction in patients due to the use of J & J opioid products was actually evidence of ‘under-treated pain’ and required the prescribing of more opioids. Sales representatives used these aggressive marketing tactics to target prescription-happy doctors referred to as ‘Key Customers’ in internal correspondence.”
I can not help but feel there comes a time when one must look at the continuing

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“pruning the tree when spring starts”

August 26, 2019

End of month July and Pfizer is spinning off Upjohn to generic drug/device company Mylan NV. Pfizer bought 57% of the unnamed (mid – 2020) new company. This move comes under Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla who took over the reins from Ian Read in January, 2019. Bourla has been with Pfizer for 25 years. Before becoming the CEO, Bourla was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) overseeing the company’s commercial strategy, manufacturing, and global product development functions.
CEO Bourla has been making strategic moves following what he has called a “pruning the tree when spring starts and Pfizer is in the spring of high growth” strategy. What caught my eye is this one comment in the Wall Street Journal about remaking Pfizer into a company focused on patent-protected

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Denmark Offers to Buy the US

August 20, 2019

Andy Borowitz, The Borowitz Report, COPENHAGEN: After rebuffing Donald J. Trump’s hypothetical proposal to purchase Greenland, the government of Denmark has announced that it would be interested in buying the United States instead.
“As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale,” a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. “We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale.”
“Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government,” the spokesperson added.
A key provision of the purchase offer, the spokesperson said, would be the relocation of Donald Trump to another country “to be

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Sunday Morning Commentary

August 18, 2019

What is going on lately in the nation. Maybe you do not read it, but these authors/cartoonists can depict each of today’s issues in one image.
Immigration, CEO Pay, Guns, and Retirement
Click on each image to enlarge.

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Science Backed Home Healthcare Remedies

August 18, 2019

From treehuggers, “Home Remedies,” Melissa Breyer, August 12, 2019
treehugger publication was also a part of Slate’s “Green Challenge” which Slate started publishing in conjunction with treehugger.org. a decade plus few years or so ago.
Chicken Soup for a Cold?
Toronto-based dietitian and Director of Food and Nutrition at Medcan, Leslie Beck:
“There is no evidence to prove that eating chicken soup is effective at treating the common cold. However, it’s not a total bust.” She continues;
“A 2000 University of Nebraska study found homemade chicken soup containing chicken, lots of vegetables, parsley, salt and pepper inhibits the activity of inflammation-causing white blood cells in blood samples taken from volunteers. It was thought this could reduce the flow

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