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Donald Trump Chooses Tom Price as Health Secretary

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Price has led efforts to craft a GOP alternative to the spectacularly unpopular Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON— Louise Radnofsky and Peter Nicholas report: President-elect Donald Trump has chosen House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R., Ga.) as his nominee for secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, according to a transition team adviser, putting the six-term congressman in charge of the sprawling agency that will likely dismantle Democrats’ 2010 health-care overhaul.

“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care. The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”

Mr. Price, a 62-year-old former orthopedic surgeon, is one of several GOP physicians who sought to carve out a leading role in shaping the party’s health policy and, in particular, the party’s alternative vision to Democrats’ Affordable Care Act. Much of his criticism of the law has centered on the authority it gives to the federal government, and to the agency that he may now head.

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“There’s a genuine desire to have us coalesce around a single plan so that the American people can see who’s trying to solve these challenges. I wouldn’t draw any lines in the sand other than that the path that we’re on doesn’t work.”

“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care,” he said in an interview this summer. “The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

He has championed his own legislation, the Empowering Patients First Act, since 2009, taking a position on a number of hot-button issues for conservative health policy thinkers. In its latest iteration, the proposal includes refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for people to buy insurance if they don’t have access to coverage through an employer or government program. People in a government program, such as Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare, would also be allowed to opt out of it and get tax credits toward the cost of private coverage instead.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attends an event held in observance of World AIDS Day at the White House in Washington December 2, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attends an event held in observance of World AIDS Day at the White House in Washington December 2, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Mr. Price had previously included tax deductions in his plans, a tool typically favored by harder-line conservative health policy thinkers, but said he had “moved towards credits because we felt it was cleaner.”

The plan offers a one-time credit aimed at boosting health savings accounts, long described by supporters as a way of bringing down medical spending, and derives part of its funding from capping how much employers can spend on providing employee health care before being taxed. The plan seeks to make health insurance available to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions by helping states set up new “high-risk” pools or other programs for such enrollees, and sets new rules allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines.

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

But Mr. Price, whose rise in the congressional ranks began at the conservative Republican Study Committee and then steadily climbed, has already said he is open to compromise with fellow GOP lawmakers on many points. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Democrats Defying Trump on Sanctuary Cities Is a ‘Mistaken Bet’ 

Charles Krauthammer identified the issue of sanctuary cities as a scandal even before Donald Trump took issue with them, and he said that Democrats would be foolish to defy federal authority to defend them.

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Jessica Vaughan reports: Sanctuary jurisdictions remain a significant public safety problem throughout the country. About 300 jurisdictions have been identified by ICE as having a policy that is non-cooperative and obstructs immigration enforcement (as of September 2015). The number of cities has remained relatively unchanged since our last update in January 2016, as some new sanctuary jurisdictions have been added and few jurisdictions have reversed their sanctuary policies.

Over the 19-month period from January 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015, more than 17,000 detainers were rejected by these jurisdictions. Of these, about 11,800 detainers, or 68 percent, were issued for individuals with a prior criminal history.

According to ICE statistics, since the Obama administration implemented the new Priority Enforcement Program in July 2015 restricting ICE use of detainers, the number of rejected detainers has declined. However, the number of detainers issued by ICE also has declined in 2016, so it is not clear if the new policies are a factor. It is apparent that most of the sanctuary policies remain in place, raising concerns that the Priority Enforcement Program has failed as a response to the sanctuary problem, and has simply resulted in fewer criminal aliens being deported.

The Department of Justice’s Inspector General recently found that some of the sanctuary jurisdictions appear to be violating federal law, and may face debarment from certain federal funding or other consequences.

The sanctuary jurisdictions are listed below. Read the rest of this entry »


Scientists Discover Nanotechnology Coating That Can Kill 99.9 Percent Of Superbugs

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The transparent coating will be baked into the material, forming a hard surface that is resistant to superbugs including MRSA, some fungi and Escherichia coli. The team is now studying on how the material could be incorporated into paint and plastics to explore a wider use of the discovery.

Angela Laguipo reports: A nanotechnology coating could control the spread of potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are very difficult to kill, a new study found.

“It’s absolutely wonderful to finally be at this stage. This breakthrough will change the whole fight against superbugs. It can effectively control the spread of bacteria.”

— Professor Suresh Pillai from IT Sligo.

This new breakthrough will allow ordinary items like smartphones, door handles and telephones to be protected against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are expected to kill about 10 million people around the world by 2050. A team of researchers from Institute of Technology Sligo found a way that could stem the spread of deadly and hard-to-treat superbugs.

“It’s absolutely wonderful to finally be at this stage. This breakthrough will change the whole fight against superbugs. It can effectively control the spread of bacteria,” said Professor Suresh Pillai from IT Sligo.

Nanotechnology Research in nano-microfabricated systems Micro-chip with tweezers Zulf Ali Enterprise magazine

Nanotechnology Research in nano-microfabricated systems. Micro-chip with tweezers. Zulf Ali Enterprise magazine

The nanotechnology has a 99.9 percent kill rate of potentially fatal bacteria, the researchers found. It contains a potent antimicrobial solution that is robust enough to kill pathogens and even inhibit their growth.

[Read the full story here, at Tech Times]

A wide range of items could be used as long as they’re made from metal, ceramic or glass including screens of tablets, smartphones and computers. It could also be used on door handles, television sets, urinals, refrigerators, ATM’s and ceramic tiles or floors.

[The study was published here, in the journal Nature]

It will be very useful in hospitals and other medical facilities that face the problem of superbug infections or what is commonly called nosocomial infections. Other common public areas that can use this nanotechnology are public swimming pools, buildings and transportation. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Annual Summer Dog Meat Festival Freaks Out Animal Lovers

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Animal rights activists are seeking to shut down an annual summer dog meat festival in southern China blamed for harming the country’s international reputation as well as fueling extreme cruelty to canines liberal-huhand unhygienic food handling practices.

Christopher Bodeen reports: Activists from a coalition of groups said Monday that they will continue press for the festival to be banned as well as legislation outlawing the slaughtering of dogs and cats and the consumption of their meat.

While an estimated 10 million-20 million dogs are killed for their meat each year in China, the June 20 event in the city of Yulin has come to symbolize the cruelty and lack of hygiene associated with the largely unregulated industry.

Yu Hongmei, director of the VShine Animal Protection Association, said China needs to follow the example of the vast majority of developed nations that have banned eating dog and cat.

Restaurant owners say eating dog meat is traditional during the summer, while opponents say the festival that began in 2010 has no cultural value and was merely invented to drum up business. Since 2014, the local government has sought to disassociate itself from the event, forbidding its employees from attending and limiting its size by shutting down some dog markets and slaughter houses.

A man lights a cigarette as dogs roast at a restaurant in Yulin in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Animal rights activists are seeking to shut down an annual summer dog meat festival in southern China, which they call extreme cruelty to canines. AP

A man lights a cigarette as dogs roast at a restaurant in Yulin in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Animal rights activists are seeking to shut down an annual summer dog meat festival in southern China, which they call extreme cruelty to canines. AP

“China needs to progress with the times,” Yu said. “Preventing cruelty to animals is the sign of a mature, civilized society.”

[Read the full story here, at the The Kansas City Star]

Still, as many as 10,000 dogs, many of them stolen pets still wearing their collars, are slaughtered for the festival held deep inside the poor, largely rural Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

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Some are trucked in hundreds of miles stuffed six or seven to a crate or small metal cage without food or water. Slaughtering takes place in front of the animals, usually with a club to induce the pain and fear that restaurant owners claim makes their adrenaline-rich meat tastier.

dog-meat-fest

“Psychologically and mentally, they have already died many times,” said Peter J. Li, Humane Society International’s China policy specialist. Read the rest of this entry »


The Misleading Uses, Flagrant Abuses, and Shoddy Statistics of Social Science About Gun Violence

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You Know Less Than You Think About Guns

Brian Doherty writes: “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America,” President Barack Obama proclaimed after the October mass shooting that killed 10 at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. “So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don’t work—or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns—is not borne out by the evidence.”

In this single brief statement, Obama tidily listed the major questions bedeviling social science research about guns—while also embodying the biggest problem with the way we process and apply that research. The president’s ironclad confidence in the conclusiveness of the science, and therefore the desirability of “common-sense gun safety laws,” is echoed widely with every new mass shooting, from academia to the popular press to that guy you knew from high school on Facebook.

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

In April 2015, the Harvard gun-violence researcher David Hemenway took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times to declare in a headline: “There’s scientific consensus on guns—and the NRA won’t like it.” Hemenway insisted that researchers have definitively established “that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be…that guns are not used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime…and that the change to more permissive gun carrying laws has not reduced crime rates.” He concludes: “There is consensus that strong gun laws reduce homicide.”

But the science is a lot less certain than that. What we really know about the costs and benefits of private gun ownership and the efficacy of gun laws is far more fragile than what Hemenway and the president would have us believe.

More guns do not necessarily mean more homicides. More gun laws do not necessarily mean less gun crime. Finding good science is hard enough; finding good social science on a topic so fraught with politics is nigh impossible. The facts then become even more muddled as the conclusions of those less-than-ironclad academic studies cycle through the press and social media in a massive game of telephone. Despite the confident assertions of the gun controllers and decades of research, we still know astonishingly little about how guns actually function in society and almost nothing at all about whether gun control policies actually work as promised.

Do More Guns Mean More Homicides?

“More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on August 26, 2015, just after the grisly on-air murder of two television journalists in Virginia. It’s a startling fact, and true.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

But do the number of guns in circulation correlate with the number of gun deaths? Start by looking at the category of gun death that propels all gun policy discussion: homicides. (Gun suicides, discussed further below, are a separate matter whose frequent conflation with gun crime introduces much confusion into the debate.)

In 1994 Americans owned around 192 million guns, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. Today, that figure is somewhere between 245 and 328 million, though as Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss in their thorough 2014 book The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press) wisely concluded, liberal-huh“the bottom line is that no one knows how many firearms are in private hands in the United States.” Still, we have reason to believe gun prevalence likely surpassed the one-gun-per-adult mark early in President Barack Obama’s first term, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report that relied on sales and import data.

Yet during that same period, per-capita gun murders have been cut almost in half.

One could argue that the relevant number is not the number of guns, but the number of people with access to guns. That figure is also ambiguous. A Gallup poll in 2014 found 42 percent of households claiming to own a gun, which Gallup reports is “similar to the average reported to Gallup over the past decade.” But those looking for a smaller number, to downplay the significance of guns in American life, can rely on the door-to-door General Social Survey, which reported in 2014 that only 31 percent of households have guns, down 11 percentage points from 1993’s 42 percent. There is no singular theory to explain that discrepancy or to be sure which one is closer to correct—though some doubt, especially as gun ownership continues to be so politically contentious, that people always reliably report the weapons they own to a stranger literally at their door.

woman-drawing-gun-from-holster

The gun murder rate in 1993 was 7.0 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (Those reports rely on death certificate reporting, and they tend to show higher numbers than the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, though both trend the same.) In 2000 the gun murder rate per 100,000 was 3.8. By 2013, the rate was even lower, at 3.5, though there was a slight upswing in the mid-00s.

This simple point—that America is awash with more guns than ever before, yet we are killing each other with guns at a far lower rate than when we had far fewer guns—undermines the narrative that there is a straightforward, causal relationship between increased gun prevalence and gun homicide. Even if you fall back on the conclusion that it’s just a small number of owners stockpiling more and more guns, it’s hard to escape noticing that even these hoarders seem to be harming fewer and fewer people with their weapons, casting doubt on the proposition that gun ownership is a political crisis demanding action.

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In the face of these trend lines—way more guns, way fewer gun murders—how can politicians such as Obama and Hillary Clinton so successfully capitalize on the panic that follows each high profile shooting? Partly because Americans haven’t caught on to the crime drop. A 2013 Pew Research Poll found 56 percent of respondents thought that gun crime had gone up over the past 20 years, and only 12 percent were aware it had declined.

Do Gun Laws Stop Gun Crimes?

The same week Kristof’s column came out, National Journal attracted major media attention with a showy piece of research and analysis headlined “The States With The Most Gun Laws See The Fewest Gun-Related Deaths.” The subhead lamented: “But there’s still little appetite to talk about more restrictions.”

Critics quickly noted that the Journal‘s Libby Isenstein had included suicides among “gun-related deaths” and suicide-irrelevant policies such as stand-your-ground laws among its tally of “gun laws.” That meant that high-suicide, low-homicide states such as Wyoming, Alaska, and Idaho were taken to task for their liberal carry-permit policies. Worse, several of the states with what the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence considers terribly lax gun laws were dropped from Isenstein’s data set because their murder rates were too low!

gun-range

Another of National Journal‘s mistakes is a common one in gun science: The paper didn’t look at gun statistics in the context of overall violent crime, a much more relevant measure to the policy debate. After all, if less gun crime doesn’t mean less crime overall—if criminals simply substitute other weapons or means when guns are less available—the benefit of the relevant gun laws is thrown into doubt. When Thomas Firey of the Cato Institute ran regressions of Isenstein’s study with slightly different specifications and considering all violent crime, each of her effects either disappeared or reversed.

Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s Legacy? Executive Overreach

obama-podium

Obama can’t do much on guns, but he has mainstreamed a dangerous idea about governing.

David Harsanyi writes:

…The flow of donations to Second Amendment advocacy groups will almost certainly rise, and gun violence — which has fallen considerably over the past 20 years of gun ownership expansion — will not be addressed.

“Perhaps Obama’s most destructive legacy is the mainstreaming of the idea that if Congress ‘fails to act’ it’s okay for the president to make law himself.”

But more consequentially — and this may be the most destructive legacy of the Obama presidency — is the mainstreaming of the idea that if Congress “fails to act” it’s okay for the president to figure out a way to make law himself. Hillary’s already applauded Obama’s actions because, as she put it, “Congress won’t act; we have to do something.” This idea is repeated perpetually by the Left, in effect arguing that we live in direct democracy run by the president (until a Republican is in office, of course). On immigration, on global warming, on Iran, on whatever crusade liberals are on, the president has a moral obligation to act if Congress doesn’t do what he wants.

President Bush speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

“If President Bush had instituted a series of restrictions on the abortion industry — since it has a loud, well-organized, and well-funded lobby that wants to make abortions ‘effortlessly’ available — without congressional input, would that have been procedurally okay with liberals? You know, for the children? I don’t imagine so.”

Perhaps Obama’s most destructive legacy is the mainstreaming of the idea that if Congress ‘fails to act’ it’s okay for the president to make law himself.

To believe this, you’d have to accept two things: 1) That Congress has a responsibility to pass laws on the issues that the president desires or else they would be abdicating their responsibility, and 2) That Congress has not already acted.

In 2013, the Senate rejected legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases and to ban certain weapons and ammunition, and they would almost certainly oppose nearly every idea Obama has to curb gun ownership today. Congress has acted, just not in the manner Obama desires.

President Barack Obama, holding a football, offers a fist-bump April 8, 2009, to senior staff member Pete Rouse, during a meeting with senior advisors in the Oval Office. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

“Is it really is the work of ‘citizenship’ to cheer on a president who single-handedly constrains Americans from practicing one of their constitutional rights?”

“Change, as always, is going to take all of us,” Obama theorized the other day. “The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids. That’s the work of citizenship — to stand up and fight for the change that we seek.”

[Read the full text here, at TheFederalist]

Get it? You can be with the loud and reprehensible gun lobby who supports allowing criminals to obtain guns “effortlessly,” or you can stand with the kids. Your choice!

Well, not exactly your choice. As a reactionary, I wonder is it really the duty of “citizenship” to cheer on a president who single-handedly constrains Americans from practicing one of their constitutional rights? If President Bush had instituted a series of restrictions on the abortion industry — since it has a loud, well-organized, and well-funded lobby that wants to make abortions “effortlessly” available — without congressional input, would that have been procedurally okay with liberals? You know, for the children? I don’t imagine so.

Read the rest of this entry »


Pew Research Center: Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware 

banned-tiny-toy-gun

Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew.

By  and 

Chapter 1: Overview

National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.

SDT-2013-05-gun-crime-1-1

Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.

Nearly all the decline in the firearm homicide rate took place in the 1990s; the downward trend stopped in 2001 and resumed slowly in 2007. The victimization rate for other gun crimes plunged in the 1990s, then declined more slowly from 2000 to 2008. The rate appears to be higher in 2011 compared with 2008, but the increase is not statistically significant. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall also dropped in the 1990s before declining more slowly from 2000 to 2010, then ticked up in 2011.

Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.

SDT-2013-05-gun-crime-1-2

Looking back 50 years, the U.S. gun homicide rate began rising in the 1960s, surged in the 1970s, and hit peaks in 1980 and the early 1990s. (The number of homicides peaked in the early 1990s.) The plunge in homicides after that meant that firearm homicide rates inmust-think-hardthe late 2000s were equal to those not seen since the early 1960s.The sharp decline in the U.S. gun homicide rate, combined with a slower decrease in the gun suicide
rate, means that gun suicides now account for six-in-ten firearms deaths, the highest share since at least 1981.

Trends for robberies followed a similar long-term trajectory as homicides (National Research Council, 2004), hitting a peak in the early 1990s before declining.

This report examines trends in firearm homicide, non-fatal violent gun crime victimization and non-fatal violent crime victimization overall since 1993. Its findings on firearm crime are based mainly on analysis of data from two federal agencies. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using information from death certificates, are the source of rates, counts and trends for all firearm deaths, homicide and suicide, unless otherwise specified. The Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, a household survey conducted by the Census Bureau, supplies annual estimates of non-fatal crime victimization, including those where firearms are used, regardless of whether the crimes were reported to police. Where relevant, this report also quotes from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (see text box at the end of this chapter and the Methodology appendix for more discussion about data sources).

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Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened.

There also is debate about the extent of gun ownership in the U.S., although no disagreement that the U.S. has more civilian firearms, both total and per capita, than other nations. Compared with other developed nations, the U.S. has a higher homicide rate and higher rates of gun ownership, but not higher rates for all other crimes. (See Chapter 5 for more details.)

In the months since the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December, the public is paying close attention to the topic of firearms; according to a recent Pew Research Center survey (Pew Research Center, April 2013) no story received more public attention from mid-March to early April than the debate over gun control. Reducing crime has moved up as a priority for the public in polling this year.

Mass shootings are a matter of great public interest and concern. They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1% of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008. These homicides, most of which are shootings, increased as a share of all homicides from 0.5% in 1980 to 0.8% in 2008, according to the bureau’s data. A Congressional Research Service report, using a definition of four deaths or more, counted 547 deaths from mass shootings in the U.S. from 1983 to 2012.

Looking at the larger topic of firearm deaths, there were 31,672 deaths from guns in the U.S. in 2010. Most (19,392) were suicides; the gun suicide rate has been higher than the gun homicide rate since at least 1981, and the gap is wider than it was in 1981.

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Knowledge About Crime

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Despite the attention to gun violence in recent months, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is markedly lower than it was two decades ago. A new Pew Research Center survey (March 14-17) found that 56% of Americans believe the number of crimes involving a gun is higher than it was 20 years ago; only 12% say it is lower and 26% say it stayed the same. (An additional 6% did not know or did not answer.)

Men (46%) are less likely than women (65%) to say long-term gun crime is up. Young adults, ages 18 to 29, are markedly less likely than other adults to say long-term crime is up—44% do, compared with more than half of other adults. Minority adults are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to say that long-term gun crime is up, 62% compared with 53%.

Asked about trends in the number of gun crimes “in recent years,” a plurality of 45% believe the number has gone up, 39% say it is about the same and 10% say it has gone down. (An additional 5% did not know or did not answer.) As with long-term crime, women (57%) are more likely than men (32%) to say that gun crime has increased in recent years. So are non-white adults (54%) compared with whites (41%). Adults ages 50 and older (51%) are more likely than those ages 18-49 (42%) to believe gun crime is up.

What is Behind the Crime Decline?

Researchers continue to debate the key factors behind changing crime rates, which is part of a larger discussion about the predictors of crime. There is consensus that demographics played some role: The outsized post-World War II baby boom, which produced a large number of people in the high-crime ages of 15 to 20 in the 1960s and 1970s, helped drive crime up in those years.

A review by the National Academy of Sciences of factors driving recent crime trends (Blumstein and Rosenfeld, 2008) cited a decline in rates in the early 1980s as the young boomers got older, then a flare-up by mid-decade in conjunction with a rising street market for crack cocaine, especially in big cities. It noted recruitment of a younger cohort of drug seller with greater willingness to use guns. By the early 1990s, crack markets withered in part because of lessened demand, and the vibrant national economy made it easier for even low-skilled young people to find jobs rather than get involved in crime.

At the same time, a rising number of people ages 30 and older were incarcerated, due in part to stricter laws, which helped restrain violence among this age group. It is less clear, researchers say, that innovative policing strategies and police crackdowns on use of guns by younger adults played a significant role in reducing crime.

Some researchers have proposed additional explanations as to why crime levels plunged so suddenly, including increased access to abortion and lessened exposure to lead. According to one hypothesis, legalization of abortion after the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision resulted in fewer unwanted births, and unwanted children have an increased risk of growing up to become criminals. Another theory links reduced crime to 1970s-era reductions in lead in gasoline; children’s exposure to lead causes brain damage that could be associated with violent behavior. The National Academy of Sciences review said it was unlikely that either played a major role, but researchers continue to explore both factors.

Homicide-Johnny

The plateau in national violent crime rates has raised interest in the topic of how local differences might influence crime levels and trends. Crime reductions took place across the country in the 1990s, but since 2000, patterns have varied more by metropolitan area or city.

One focus of interest is that gun ownership varies widely by region and locality. The National Academy of Sciences review of possible influences on crime trends said there is good evidence of a link between firearm ownership and firearm homicide at the local level; “the causal direction of this relationship remains in dispute, however, with some researchers maintaining that firearm violence elevates rates of gun ownership, but not the reverse.” Read the rest of this entry »


For Many Black Americans, Confederate Flag Debate a Distraction

Vanessa White poses with a photo of her brother Eric Tripp, who was shot and killed in the 1990s, in Compton, California June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Tim Reid reports: As calls grow to remove the Confederate flag from public spaces across America’s South, Vanessa White says she questions whether that would mark real progress for black Americans like her.

The 57-year-old Compton, California construction worker has seen and endured too much, she says, to be excited. Over the years, five members of her family have been killed by guns: her two brothers, at the ages of 28 and 38; her nephew, at 19; her niece, at 16; and her niece’s mother, at 28. All of them had dropped out of school in their teens.

“We never felt like we were allowed near normal life,” said White, speaking from the tidy, two-story home she purchased last year in the struggling suburb south of Los Angeles.

Vanessa White poses with a photo of her brother George Chapman, who was shot and killed in the 1990s, in Compton, California June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

Vanessa White poses with a photo of her brother George Chapman, who was shot and killed in the 1990s, in Compton, California June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

Across the country, African Americans are applauding a fast-growing movement to remove the Confederate flag from public life after last week’s racially charged massacre of nine black worshipers in a Charleston church. But even many of those who support the effort suspect it will do little to address what they see as fundamental racial injustices – from mass incarceration of black men to a lack of economic and educational opportunities.

White’s view, she says, was shaped by exposure to racism as a child and also by a family she describes as dysfunctional. Her single mother was an alcoholic, and her brothers began committing crimes at an early age. She says she grew up never feeling like a real person because of her race. Read the rest of this entry »


Former NAACP Official James Wilburn: Rachel Dolezal ‘Has Very Self-Serving Motives’

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SPOKANE, Wash. (CBS Seattle) — The nation was both shocked and engrossed at the narrative of Rachel Dolezal, the former head of the NAACP Spokane chapter who was outed as a white woman pretending to be black after her parents went public with the information.

The varying degrees of Dolezal’s family history, work for the NAACP, and choice of identification started a whirlwind debate drawing criticism, confusion, and concern from both the public and those who personally know her.

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“People can identify with another race but it doesn’t change their racial heritage. You inherit your race but to be transgender or transsexual you do not inherit. It is not passed down from your parents.”

— former Spokane NAACP chapter President James Wilburn

For many, the saga prompted a discussion of how Dolezal’s “passing” deception opens the conversation on race in America and if her actions may have damaging consequences to race relations on some levels.

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“Many people felt that her story was so outrageous that it sensationalized the issue of race. Rachel’s  reality is not the true African-American experience. It took us off the real discussion and issues concerning racial discrimination and victimization.”

— Former Spokane NAACP chapter President JamesWilburn

“Many people felt that her story was so outrageous that it sensationalized the issue of race. Rachel’s  reality is not the true African-American experience. It took us off the real discussion and issues concerning racial discrimination and victimization. Black men are losing their lives left and right because of the real color of their skin that they can’t put on Rebecca-Carrolland take off at will,” former Spokane NAACP chapter President James
Wilburn tells CBS Seattle.

“What strikes me as the most perverse and pathological aspect of this story is Dolezal’s relationship to and ultimate identity-theft of her black adoptive siblings, or at least her perception of what their identities mean to them and the world…”

The concept of race being fluid and being something that can be “claimed” is worrisome to many. On the opposite side of the argument, some have defended Dolezal by comparing the choice of race to the choice of gender. This defense itself is problematic for many fighting for civil rights.

“…Not least of all because I could not, at any given point in my life, despite having grown up in a white family, with no black people within a 15-mile radius, suddenly choose to present myself as a white woman.”

— Rebecca Carroll, Director of Digital Media & Marketing at Scenarios USA

“People can identify with another race but it doesn’t change their racial heritage. You inherit your race but to be transgender or transsexual you do not inherit. It is not passed down from your parents,” Wilburn says.

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“I believe she needs professional help. Someone with the appropriate training in mental health would need to assess her and make the appropriate diagnosis so she can get the help she needs.”

— former Spokane NAACP chapter President James Wilburn

Rebecca Carroll, Director of Digital Media & Marketing at Scenarios USA, notes that Dolezal’s lies shed light on important issues regarding her family relations and transracial (when a child of one race is adopted by the family of another) adoptees. Read the rest of this entry »


Rhode Island: Social Media, Hookup Apps Blamed For Spikes In Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Other STDs

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 reports: New cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV are on the rise in Rhode Island, a trend that the state health department attributed in part to social media as people increasingly turn to their phones to arrange “casual and often anonymous sexual encounters.” Better testing has also contributed to the rising number of infections, the department said.

“This trend reminds us that we cannot become complacent.”

— Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director designee at the Rhode Island Department of Health

“Despite the progress we have made in reducing STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] and HIV over the years, there is more work to do,” Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director designee at the Rhode Island Department of Health, said in a release. “This trend reminds us that we cannot become complacent.”

Teen Girl Using Computer --- Image by © L. Clarke/CORBIS

“The ease of seeking sex partners through classified ad sites may promote risky behaviors that increase transmission of STDs.”

From 2013 to 2014, syphilis cases rose by 79 percent, gonorrhea by 30 percent and HIV cases by nearly 33 percent, the department said. New cases of these increased faster among men who have sex with men and had a greater impact on African-Americans and Hispanics as well as on youth.

[Read the full text here, at International Business Times]

Although the health department stated that the rising rates followed national trends, the most recent data from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that from 2012 to 2013, rates of gonorrhea remained stable and rates of syphilis increased only among men. Read the rest of this entry »


Turn on, Tune In, Get Old: Aging Baby Boomers Bring Drug Habits into Middle Age

BOOMER-WSJ

Older adults are abusing drugs, getting arrested for drug offenses and dying from drug overdoses at increasingly higher rates. These surges have come as the 76 million baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, reach late middle age. 

UPLAND, Calif.— Zusha Elinson reports: From the time he was a young man coming of age in the 1970s, Mike Massey could have served as a poster child for his generation, the baby boomers. He grew his hair long to the dismay of his father, surfed, played in rock bands and says he regularly got high on marijuana and cocaine.

“I thought, no big deal—my knee hurts and they’re prescription drugs. The fact of the matter was I was abusing them the second day I had them.”

— Mike Massey

The wild times receded as he grew older. In his 30s, he stopped using drugs altogether, rose into executive positions with the plumbers and pipe fitters union, bought a house in this Los Angeles suburb and started a family. But at age 50, Mr. Massey injured his knee running. He took Vicodin for the pain but soon started using pills heavily, mixing the opioids with alcohol, he said.

“After surgeries to repair his knee and an arm he also injured, prescriptions brought him a steady supply of pain pills. He would down about 40 every day while drinking heavily. By that time, he had become executive director of the trust fund and several associated businesses.”

“It reminded me of getting high and getting loaded,” said Mr. Massey, now 58 years old, who went into recovery and stopped using drugs and alcohol in 2013. “Your mind never forgets that.”

[Read the full text here, at the Wall Street Journal]

Today, the story of this balding, middle-aged executive continues to reflect that of his generation.

Older adults are abusing drugs, getting arrested for drug offenses and dying from drug overdoses at increasingly higher rates. These surges have come as the 76 million baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, reach late middle age. Facing the pains and losses connected to aging, boomers, who as youths used drugs at the highest rates of any generation, are once again—or still—turning to drugs.

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The trend has U.S. health officials worried. The sharp increase in overdose deaths among older adults in particular is “very concerning,” said Wilson Compton,deputy director for the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The rate of death by accidental drug overdose for people aged 45 through 64 increased 11-fold between 1990, when no baby boomers were in the age group, and 2010, when the age group was filled with baby boomers, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mortality data. That multiple of increase was greater than for any other age group in that time span.

“He is a very valued employee and does a lot for the organization. He was worth the effort of saving.”

— Sid Stolper, Mr. Massey’s boss for 21 years

The surge has pushed the accidental overdose rate for these late middle age adults higher than that of 25- to 44-year-olds for the first time. More than 12,000 boomers died of accidental drug overdoses in 2013, the most recent data available. That is more than the number that died that year from either car accidents or influenza and pneumonia, according to the CDC.

“Generally, we thought of older individuals of not having a risk for drug abuse and drug addiction,” Dr. Compton said. “As the baby boomers have aged and brought their habits with them into middle age, and now into older adult groups, we are seeing marked increases in overdose deaths.”Still Turning On

Baby Boomers are developing drug problems at increasingly higher rates. What is the profile of a Boomer at risk? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer. Illustration: Arielle Ray

“Rehab centers that were designed for younger people are adjusting to the new clientele. Getting rid of bunk beds, hiring more experienced addiction counselors and providing medical care on-site are some measures being taken.”

Experts say the drug problem among the elderly has been caused by the confluence of two key factors: a generation with a predilection for mind-altering substances growing older in an era of widespread opioid painkiller abuse. Pain pills follow marijuana as the most popular ways for aging boomers to get high, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which conducts an annual national survey on drug use. Opioid painkillers also are the drug most often involved in overdoses, followed by antianxiety drugs, cocaine and heroin.

Wall Street Journal interviews with dozens of older drug users and recovering addicts revealed an array of personal stories behind the trend. Some had used drugs their entire lives and never slowed down. Others had used drugs when they were younger, then returned to them later in life after a divorce, death in the family or job loss.

“Amid prescription painkiller abuse, old-age aches and pains are treated with acupuncture and nonaddictive painkillers. Another change is therapy sessions that are designed for older adults.”

“If you have a trigger, and your youth is caught up in that Woodstock mentality, you’re going to revert back,” said Jamie Huysman, 60, clinical adviser to the senior program at Caron Treatment Centers, a residential drug treatment organization that plans to break ground this summer on a $10 million medical center in Pennsylvania catering to older adults. “We were pretty conditioned that we could be rebellious, that we could take drugs, and so this is how we respond today.”

Drug-rehabilitation programs are grappling with how to handle the boom in older patients. More than 5.7 million people over the age of 50 will need substance-abuse treatment by the year 2020, according to estimates from government researchers. Meanwhile, hospitals have seen a sharp increase in the number of older adults admitted for drug-related health problems, government statistics show.

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“Over the past decade, illicit drug use among people over 50 has increased at the same time that the rate for teens—the group that draws the most public concern when it comes to substance abuse—has declined, according to the federal government’s annual survey on drug use.”

“We’re still in the process of figuring out: How do we ensure we have a strong workforce that can address this, and the appropriate settings to address this?” said Peter Delany, director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Over the past decade, illicit drug use among people over 50 has increased at the same time that the rate for teens—the group that draws the most public concern when it comes to substance abuse—has declined, according to the federal government’s annual survey on drug use. A similar pattern exists for drug arrests: rates fell in nearly every younger age group in the country between 1997 and 2012, but not for those between the ages of 45 and 64.

“The rate of drug use among boomers has fallen significantly as the cohort has aged, but it is about triple the percentage of people in the previous generation who reported drug use in their older years.”

Boomers have always ranked high on the charts that measure drug use. In 1979, high school seniors, born in 1961, set the record for self-reported illicit drug use in the past year, according to an annual national survey called Monitoring the Future. The rate of drug use among boomers has fallen significantly as the cohort has aged, but it is about triple the percentage of people in the previous generation who reported drug use in their older years. Read the rest of this entry »


The Weird Vaccine Panic: Rand Paul Joins the Santa Monica Left by Indulging Bad Science

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Mr. Paul is an ophthalmologist, so he should know he was broadcasting misinformation

On Tuesday we rapped Chris Christie for his odd doubts about public vaccines amid a dangerous outbreak of measles in California. But it seems this is something of an epidemic among potential GOP presidential candidates, so perhaps it’s time for some facts about science, liberty and public health.

“The claims about vaccine risks go back to a 1998 article in The Lancet in which British doctor Andrew Wakefield claimed to have found a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism. But the real menace was Mr. Wakefield, whose findings were proven to be fraudulent and who was on the payroll of the plaintiffs bar.”

Rand Paul joined the vaccine follies Monday in an interview with CNBC. While acknowledging vaccines are a “medical breakthrough” and it is a “great idea” to raise “public awareness of how good vaccines are for kids,” Mr. Paul then gave credence to the conspiracy theories that have frightened parents. He suggested there is a health concern in giving “five and six vaccines all at one time” and explained that he had delayed his own child’s immunizations.

Measles-Outbreak-Spurred-On-by-Anti-Vaxxers-650x433

The likely presidential candidate also claimed to have “heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” He pitched all this as an “obvious” question of “freedom”: “The state doesn’t own your children. The parents own the children.” Oh, my.

“A favorite theory of anti-vaccine activists is that too many shots at one time can overwhelm the immune system, triggering autism. Mr. Paul’s reference to mental “disorders” is a dog whistle (perhaps unintentional) to autism fears.”

Mr. Paul is an ophthalmologist, so he should know he was broadcasting misinformation. The claims about vaccine risks go back to a 1998 article in The Lancet in which British doctor Andrew Wakefield claimed to have found a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. But the real menace was Mr. Wakefield, whose findings were proven to be fraudulent and who was on the payroll of the plaintiffs bar. The Lancet retracted the article in 2010, and Mr. Wakefield lost his medical license.

sudan-beverly-hills-anti-vaxx

Vaccine anxiety is most common in privileged communities of the liberal elite

Yet the virus of fear was released, and it infected and was carried by the likes of celebrity Jenny McCarthy and former GOP Member of Congress Dan Burton. A favorite theory of anti-vaccine activists is that too many shots at one time can overwhelm the immune system, triggering autism. Mr. Paul’s reference to mental “disorders” is a dog whistle (perhaps unintentional) to autism fears. Read the rest of this entry »


Commentary: ‘I Don’t Vaccinate My Child Because It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back’

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The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.

90Andrea Martin writes: As a mother, I put my parenting decisions above all else. Nobody knows my son better than me, and the choices I make about how to care for him are no one’s business but my own. So, when other people tell me how they think I should be raising my child, I simply can’t tolerate it. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I fully stand behind my choices as a mom, including my choice not to vaccinate my son, because it is my fundamental right as a parent to decide which eradicated measlesdiseases come roaring back.

“The bottom line is that I’m this child’s mother, and I know what’s best. End of story. Politicians, pharmaceutical companies—they don’t know the specific circumstances that made me decide to breathe new life into a viral infection that scientists and the nation at large celebrated stamping out roughly a century ago.”

The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.

“It’s simple: You don’t tell me how to raise my kids to avoid reviving a horrific illness that hasn’t been seen on our shores since our grandparents were children, and I won’t tell you how to raise yours.”

Say what you will about me, but I’ve read the information out there and weighed every option, so I am confident in my choice to revive a debilitating illness that was long ago declared dead and let it spread like wildfire from school to school, town to town, and state to state, until it reaches every corner of the country. Leaving such a momentous decision to someone you haven’t even met and who doesn’t care about your child personally—now that’s absurd!

University Of Iowa Begins Vaccinating Students For Mumps

Maybe I choose to bring back the mumps. Or maybe it’s diphtheria. Or maybe it’s some other potentially fatal disease that can easily pass among those too young or too medically unfit to be vaccinated themselves. But whichever highly communicable and formerly wiped-out disease that I opt to resurrect with a vengeance, it is a highly personal decision that only I and my family have the liberty to make. Read the rest of this entry »


Thanks a Lot: When You Get the Flu This Winter, You Can Blame Anti-Vaxxers

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We’re never going to modernize our outdated approach to preventing annual outbreaks as long as scientists remain stuck in nonsensical debates with the no-shots crowd.

Kent Sepkowitz complains: Now that flu season again is closing in on all of us, it’s time to trot out the annual debate about flu vaccines.

“The bigger problem is that the anti-vax crowd waits for this sort of mess to pounce, as if the biologic unpredictability of a living virus is enough to make their point.  Their point of course is a slippery one…”

On one side are pro-vaccine stalwarts like those in public health (and yours truly), who look at the needle and syringe and see lives saved and hospitalizations averted. On the inevitable other side stand vaxxthose against vaccination, people looking for plot, conspiracy, and intrigue in all the wrong places: the anti-vaccine brigade. Somehow, the discussion each year begins from scratch, Groundhog Day-style, with identical claims, counterclaims, and mud-slinging from all quarters.

 “To vaccinate against the dozens of potentially circulating strains would require a giant syringe more out of a vaudeville act than a nurse’s station.”

This year, it must be admitted, the discussion is a bit more dicey—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a few weeks ago that this season’s vaccine is not such a good match, meaning that the vaccine may prevent fewer cases of influenza. On average, the vaccine has an efficacy of about 60 percent. This number is arrived at by comparing proven influenza rates in groups that vaccinated and those that didn’t—a flu-shotfair-enough and simple-enough way to examine an extremely complex epidemiologic problem.

This year, the vaccine protection rate may be even lower because, even in the red-hot super-cool molecular science world of the 21st century, we still generate flu vaccine like it’s 1963. Here’s the staid approach: In winter each year, certified flu experts meet in a room and decide which of the dozens of strains circulating worldwide are likeliest to cause the most harm when the next winter’s flu season hits, eight to 10 months hence. They look at all sorts of data and then like weathermen forced by the ticking clock to make a judgment despite imperfect information, they vote three or four strains into the vaccine. Read the rest of this entry »


Post-Election News Dump: U.S. CDC Boosts National Stockpile of Ebola Protective Gear

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The CDC has ordered $2.7 million in personal protective equipment that is being configured into 50 kits for rapid deployment to hospitals, it said in a statement.

“We are making certain to not disrupt the orders submitted by states and hospitals, but we are building our stocks so that we can assist when needed.”

— Greg Burel, director of CDC’s Division of Strategic National Stockpile

ebola-gear

Some U.S. orders of protective equipment have been backlogged amid growing domestic demand, as manufacturers prioritize a flood of requests from aid agencies trying to curb the outbreak in West Africa. Read the rest of this entry »


Heather Mac Donald: The Public-Health Profession is More Committed to Social Justice than to Sound Science

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Infected by Politics

For City JournalHeather Mac Donald writes: The public-health establishment has unanimously opposed a travel and visa moratorium from Ebola-plagued West African countries to protect the U.S. population. To evaluate whether this opposition rests on purely scientific grounds, it helps to understand the political character of the public-health field. For the last several decades, the profession has been awash in social-justice ideology. Many of its members view racism, sexism, and economic inequality, rather than individual Unknownbehavior, as the primary drivers of differential health outcomes in the U.S. According to mainstream public-health thinking, publicizing the behavioral choices behind bad health—promiscuous sex, drug use, overeating, or lack of exercise—blames the victim.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities Program, for example, focuses on “unfair health differences closely linked with social, economic or environmental disadvantages that adversely affect groups of people.” CDC’s Healthy People 2020 project recognizes that “health inequities are tied to economics, exclusion, and discrimination that prevent groups from accessing resources to live healthy lives,” according to Harvard public-health professor Nancy Krieger. Krieger is herself a magnet for federal funding, which she uses to spread the message about America’s unjust treatment of women, minorities, and the poor. Read the rest of this entry »


POLL: America Is OUT OF CONTROL

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out-of-control

Brietbart.comPolitico Poll: 64% Believe America Is Out of Control


Tick Tock: HazMat Team Awaits

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(UPDATED) BREAKING: Sick Passenger Removed from United Flight by Medical Personnel in Hazmat Suits

New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport

DEVELOPING: Medical personnel in hazmat suits at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport removed a sick passenger Saturday from a United Airlines flight that arrived from Brussels, Belgium…

FoxNews

UPDATE: Robert Wilde has this:

On Saturday at Newark Airport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials rushed to meet with a United Airlines flight from Brussels and removed a passenger, believed to be from Liberia, suspected of having Ebola. 

The CDC crew responded to flight 998 in full hazmat gear and took the man and his daughter to University Hospital in Newark for further evaluation. According to a senior federal official, the passenger was manifesting “flu-like symptoms.” The passenger was reportedly vomiting in the plane but did not exhibit other Ebola-like symptoms.

“He’s now being treated with protocols as if he has it, but no clear indication at this point that he does,” the official said. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Secret Service Director to Resign

JULIA-PIERSON-SECRET-SERVICE

The resignation came less than a day after lawmakers from both parties assailed Ms. Pierson’s leadership and said they feared for the lives of the president and others in the protection of the storied protective agency.

“Under intense questioning on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Ms. Pierson admitted that those charged with securing the White House failed to follow numerous security protocols, allowing a man armedwith a knife to penetrate deep inside the mansion.”

A 30-year veteran of the Secret Service, Ms. Pierson was supposed to have been the one to repair the agency’s reputation after scandals that raised questions about a culture that gave rise to incidents involving drinking and prostitution during overseas trips. Read the rest of this entry »


Paul A. Offit: The Anti-Vaccination Epidemic

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The pro-disease movement, championed by wealthy elites

Paul A. Offit writes: Almost 8,000 cases of pertussis, better known as whooping cough, have been reported to California’s Public Health Department so far this year. More than 250 patients have been hospitalized, nearly all of them infants and young children, and 58 have required intensive care. Why is this preventable respiratory infection making a comeback? In no small part thanks to low vaccination rates, as a story earlier this month in the Hollywood Reporter pointed out.

“Who is choosing not to vaccinate? The answer is surprising. The area with the most cases of whooping cough in California is Los Angeles County, and no group within that county has lower immunization rates than residents living between Malibu and Marina Del Rey, home to some of the wealthiest and most exclusive suburbs in the country.”

The conversation about vaccination has changed. In the 1990s, when new vaccines were introduced, the news media were obsessed with the notion that vaccines might be doing more harm than good. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine might cause autism, we were told. Thimerosal, an ethyl-mercury containing preservative in some vaccines, might cause developmental delays. Too many vaccines given too soon, the stories went, might overwhelm a child’s immune system.

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“These are the kind of immunization rates that can be found in Chad or South Sudan. But parents in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica see vaccines as unnatural—something that conflicts with their healthy lifestyle. And they have no problem finding fringe pediatricians willing to cater to their irrational beliefs.”

Then those stories disappeared. One reason was that study after study showed that these concerns were ill-measlesfounded. Another was that the famous 1998 report claiming to show a link between vaccinations and autism was retracted by The Lancet, the medical journal that had published it.

With fewer vaccinations, is your childs school safe?

Remember When We Thought We Had Functionally Eradicated Measles and Mumps?

Study: More Affluent Stupid Parents Opt Out Of Whooping Cough Vaccine

The study was not only spectacularly wrong, as more than a dozen studies have shown, but also fraudulent. The author, British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, has since been stripped of his medical license.

But the damage was done. Countless parents became afraid of vaccines. Read the rest of this entry »


FBI: Air Marshal Attacked With Syringe In Nigeria

University Of Iowa Begins Vaccinating Students For Mumps

(AP) — The FBI says a U.S. air marshal was attacked with a syringe at a Nigerian airport.

FBI spokesman Christos Sinos said Tuesday that preliminary tests show the syringe did not contain any deadly pathogens. It’s not known what was in the syringe, but Sinos says the tests are “negative for any bad stuff.”

The air marshal was attacked Sunday at the airport in Lagos, Nigeria, a country dealing with an Ebola outbreak. Read the rest of this entry »


Record Measles Outbreak: Thanks to Vaccine Avoidance, Measles Climbs to 20-Year High

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This year’s measles outbreak is the worst in 20 years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced Thursday.

 At least 70% of this year’s measles cases involve unvaccinated people

The CDC said 288 cases of the disease have been identified since January, the most in the first five months of the year since 1994. Ohio has seen the most cases with over 160, most of them emanating from the state’s Amish community.

€œ”This is not the kind of record we want to break”

— Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Anne Schuchat

The vast majority of cases still originate from other countries, with people acquiring the disease while abroad and then bringing it back to the U.S., where they spread it to others. The U.S. has not had a home-grown measles epidemic in decades. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: More Children Killed by Fire, Drowning Than by Firearms

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AWRHawkins reports:  According to the 2010 Death and Mortality numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more children under the age of ten are unintentionally killed in fire or water-related incidents than are killed in accidental gun deaths.

Gun scholar John Lott pulled together various CDC tables showing that thirty-six children under the age of ten were killed in firearm-related accidents in 2010.

The number of children under the age of ten killed in “unintentional fire/burn deaths” was 262, and the number killed in “unintentional drowning” incidents was 609.

Read the rest of this entry »


History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Attributed to Albrecht Dürer (1496). It is possible that this could be an early work of Durer, or just as likely the work of his master, Wolgemut. The 1484 refers to a planetary conjunction, not the date of the print. An early depiction of Syphilis which was still called 'French Disease' at the time.

A section of an illustration attributed to Albrecht Dürer (1496). It is possible that this could be an early work of Durer, or just as likely the work of his master, Wolgemut.

Did you know the original term for Syphilis was “The French Disease“, it made the flesh fall off your face, and killed millions of people? Ever wonder about state-of-the-art treatment for S.T.D.’s in the middle ages?

Did you know that in the 17th century, patients with syphilis were made to wear yellow in hospital ‘foul’ wards, and nicknamed “canaries” (the yellow clothing) until Westmoreland Lock Hospital in Dublin–the first to treat people with venereal diseases–opened in 1792? Of course you didn’t. Neither did I.

From stdpanels.com, an innovative timeline:

History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The samples shown here barely do it justice, it’s formatted in a way that can only be appreciated by visiting the site, and navigating from the 1400s, all the way up to the 21st century.

US Government WWII anti-VD poster believed to date from 1942-1945. This poster is now in the public domain. Posters like this one warning against VD were once commonplace.

US Government WWII anti-VD poster believed to date from 1942-1945. This poster is now in the public domain.
Posters like this one warning against VD were once commonplace.

For a long time it was thought that syphilis and gonorrhea were the same disease and it wasn’t until the 20th century that the distinction was made when it was discovered that they were caused by different bacteria. Posters like this one were commonplace in the 1940s to try and warn against venereal diseases.

History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

During World War II large numbers of Americans, including soldiers, died of syphilis, leading the US Public Health Service to make a short motion picture entitled ‘To The People of The United States’ starring Jean Hersholt about the risks of contracting syphilis.

Read the rest of this entry »


New Rules: California Chefs, Bartenders Now Forced To Wear Gloves

In a related ruling, California Surgeons now required to get tattoos, wear aprons, and smoke cigarettes in the alley during breaks

  writes:  Chefs and bartenders in California are aghast over a new law that prevents them from touching the food they will serve to customers. The new law, which took effect on January 1, is part of the California Retail Food Code.

State food handling regulations previouslyrequired foodservice employees to “minimize bare hand and arm contact with non-prepackaged food that is in a ready-to-eat-form[.]”

The new law “instead requires food employees to minimize bard hand and arm contact with exposed food that is not in a ready-to-eat form.” The “ready-to-eat” terminology means “food that is edible without additional preparation to achieve food safety.”

That sounds complex.

“Every California lawmaker who voted for this should be asked to cook food this way at home,” says Walter Olson of Overlawyered and the Cato Institute, by email.

So which California lawmakers voted for this law? All of them, it turns out.  Read the rest of this entry »


Handshakes are GERM Bombs: Embrace the Fist Bump!

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LA Times’ Rene Lynch reports:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80% — 80%! — of all infections are transmitted by hand.

“Handshaking is gross”

That very well might explain why you are sick —- or recovering from being sick. Same goes for your co-workers. Your kids. Your S.O. And so on.

Experts say frequent that hand washing goes a long way toward curbing the spread of “influenza-attributable illness” in adults, which costs the nation more than $83.3 billion each year in lost productivity and medical bills.

Read the rest of this entry »


40.7% of Babies Born to Unmarried Women

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(CNSNews.com) –  Terence P. Jeffrey  writes:   The fertility rate of women in the United States fell to a record low for the second year in a row in 2012, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also for the second year in a row, 40.7 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers.

The fertility rate is the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15-44. In 2012–according to the Dec. 30, 2013 CDC report “Births: Final Data for 2012“–the U.S. fertility rate was 63.0. That was down from 63.2 in 2011, the previous all-time low.

“The 2012 general fertility rate (GFR) for the U.S. was 63.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down slightly (less than 1%) from the record low rate reported for the nation in 2011 (63.2),” said the CDC report.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Americans Hate their Government

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 writes:  Washington is having one of its odd debates as to whether the Obama administration’s rollout of HealthCare.gov was worse than the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina. But whatever the answer, if there is one, the real story is that both are examples of a major, and depressing, trend: the declining competence of the federal government. Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, has been saying for years that most Americans believe their government can no longer act effectively and that this erosion of competence, and hence confidence, is a profound problem.

“The federal service is suffering its greatest crisis since it was founded in the first moments of the republic,” scholar Paul Light writes in his book “A Government Ill Executed.”

Over the past decade, the federal government has had several major challenges: Iraq, Afghanistan, a new homeland security system, Katrina and Obamacare. In almost every case, its performance has been plagued with mismanagement, massive cost overruns and long delays. This was not always so. In the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, federal agencies were often lean, well managed and surprisingly effective.Paul Hoffman, the administrator of the Marshall Plan, pointed out that his monumental project came in on time and under budget.

Some federal agencies still maintain a culture of high performance, including NASA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Reserve System and the Defense Department’s research arm, DARPA. But they are now islands in a sea of mediocrity.

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The Bareback Generation: Why Young People Aren’t Practicing Safe Sex

The percentage of young people using condoms has stalled, while STD rates are on the rise

 reports:  There were certain things that the 1990s just did better — including getting the word out about the dangers of unprotected sex.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of American students using condoms hit its peak at around 60% a decade ago, and has stalled since then, even declining among some demographics. A recent studyreleased by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada found that nearly 50% of sexually active college students aren’t using condoms. Other reportshave found that while teenagers are likely to use a condom the first time they have sex, their behavior becomes inconsistent after that.

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Study: More Affluent Stupid Parents Opt Out Of Whooping Cough Vaccine

Higher income isn't an indicator of higher intelligence

Higher income: not associated with higher intelligence, social responsibility, civic participation, or common sense

VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A surge in whooping cough cases reported in California two years ago may be linked in part to parents’ refusal to vaccinate their children, according to a new study.

KNX 1070′s Margaret Carrero reports the findings come amid new data from health officials that shows the California outbreak of pertussis in 2010 was among the biggest in six decades.

A study entitled “Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions and Pertussis in California, 2010″ published in the medical journal Pediatrics on Oct. 1 found a statistically significant correlation between areas with a high concentration of pertussis cases and areas where higher numbers of parents sought legal exemptions to opt out their children from vaccination.

Study co-author Dr. Daniel Salmon with the John Hopkins-Bloomberg School of Public Health said the decision not to vaccinate occurred most frequently among families considered to be among higher socioeconomic status. Read the rest of this entry »


Alice in Wonderland: Junk Science Drives Administration’s Gun Policies

To give you an idea of what is coming as a result of massive financial commingling of federal tax dollars, hidden billionaire donors and gun-ban foundations, let me give you a taste of the “Alice in Wonderland” world to come: Gun ownership is treated as a contagious disease.

Massive financial commingling of federal tax dollars, hidden billionaire donors and gun-ban foundations, here’s  a taste of the “Alice in Wonderland” world to come: Gun ownership is treated as a contagious disease

Wayne LaPierre writes: With the stroke of his royal pen, President Barack Obama declared that federal law in the form of a 17-year congressional funding ban on gun-control “research” at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was trumped by his personal decree through an executive order restoring the CDC’s junk-science agenda.

Were I to choose a single word to define this action, it would be “outlaw.” The law forbidding expenditures by CDC to promote gun control still stands. It cannot be erased by an executive order. But this is President Obama, his rule and his rules.

As with so many other Obama executive actions disregarding federal law or ignoring Congress or the courts, this one has born poisonous fruit in the form of a voluminous manifesto. In this case, it’s entitled, Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearms-Related Violence.

Produced by the National Academy of Sciences (for the CDC), the research agenda was “supported by awards between the National Academy of Sciences and both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation, the California Endowment, the Joyce Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, one anonymous donor …”

Anonymous donor? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg or George Soros perhaps? After all, the deep-pocket largesse of the Joyce Foundation is the only reason the Violence Policy Center can keep its doors open. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Birth Rate Dips to Lowest Since 1909

abortion_on_demand_AFP

The birth rate in the United States took another dip last year, falling from 63.2 births per 1,000 women 15 to 44 years old in 2011 to 63.0 births in 2012. The data was compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. birth rate, which was 69.3 per 1,000 women in 2007, has declined for five consecutive years, and is now at its lowest ebb since the government started keeping the statistics in 1909. Read the rest of this entry »


Nonsmokers USA: Americans Get Fatter, Drunker (but have a more pleasant smell)

Americans Get Fatter, Drunker: Scientific American

Lost in the U.S. health care debate is whether the countrys citizens are hurting themselves with bad habits. The bottom line is mixed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Americans are imbibing alcohol and overeating more yet are smoking less.

Some of the behaviors have patterns; others do not. Obesity is heaviest in the Southeast. Smoking is concentrated there as well. Excess drinking is high in the Northeast.

Comparing 2010 and 1995 figures provides the greatest insight into trends. Heavy drinking has worsened in 47 states, and obesity has expanded in every state. Tobacco use has declined in all states except Oklahoma and West Virginia. The “good” habit, exercise, is up in many places—even in the Southeast, where it has lagged…

 

Full details for each state >>  ScientificAmerican.com/oct2012/graphic-science