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Antibiotics Era Ending?


Mutated bacteria spreading in India could mark the end of effective antibiotic drugs. The medical repercussions would be enormous.

Pilot Antidepressant Ban Lifted


Pilots will be allowed to fly while taking the most common antidepressant drugs and those who lied about doing so in the past will be granted limited amnesty. The government is lifting a 70-year-old ban on letting pilots fly while on antidepressants, citing improvements in the drugs and an unforeseen side effect of the restriction: […]

Obama Health Exam Under Attack


President Obama is setting a bad example for the country by getting expensive, unnecessary medical tests, at least two critics charge. NPR’s Scott Hensley reports: For starters, take the whiz-bang CT scan that looked for traces of calcium in his coronary arteries, a screening test for heart disease. Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist at the […]

Americans Getting Fatter, Living Longer


Luysii points to CDC data showing that American mortality rates are dropping year after year while we simultantaneously get fatter and fatter. S/he points to several possibilities: #1: More people are exercising than they used to. How many joggers and walkers did you see on the streets 20, 30 years ago? #2: Fewer people are […]

Slightly Chubby People Live Slightly Longer


Glenn Reynolds passes along news of a Japanese study that finds “People who are a little overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people, whose average life expectancy was shorter by some five years than that of obese people, the study found.” Sweet!  I’ve apparently gotten out of shape […]

Swine Flu Kills Texas Child, Regular Flu Kills Thousands


CNN Breaking News: “23-month-old Texas child confirmed as first U.S. swine flu death, according to Richard Besser, acting director, CDC.” [UPDATE:  CNN now reports that, while this is the first death in the U.S., the child was a Mexican citizen brought to Houston for treatment, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Houston Department of […]

Obama: Sex Before Reading?


A new John McCain ad belittles Barack Obama’s legislative achievements on education reform and includes this gem: Obama’s one accomplishment? Legislation to teach “comprehensive sex education” to kindergartners. Learning about sex before learning to read? TPM’s Greg Sargent finds the charge “false” and “pernicious.”  He cites this passage from the bill, as circulated by  McCain’s […]

Tony Snow Dies of Cancer

Tony Snow Photo

Tony Snow has died. He was only 53. CNN Breaking: Former White House press secretary Tony Snow has died at the age of 53 after a second battle with cancer. Snow, who had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a recurrence of the disease, left his White House job September. 14, 2007, and joined CNN as […]

No Beer, No Civilization (Updated)

BEER All a Man Needs

George Will has been at the top of the pundit game for so long that you’d think he’d have joined a sizable number of his peers in seemingly dusting off one of their stock columns every week. Not so. Will’s latest installment is on the virtues of beer. “The search for unpolluted drinking water is […]

Jesse Helms’ Foreign Policy Legacy

Jesse Helms Chairman Senate Foreign Relations

Christopher Hitchens joins the legions dancing on Jesse Helms’ grave.   Rather than piling on about the racism of a Southern politician whose career began sixty-odd years ago, he instead focuses on Helms’ foreign policy: His chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was a period of national embarrassment and, sometimes, disgrace. The Helms-Burton Act of […]

Salmonella Cost-Benefit Analysis

Salmonella Tomatoes Photo

Stuart Buck notes that the 130 hospitalizations that resulted from the 943 reported cases of salmonella poisoning caused $100 million in losses to the U.S. tomato industry (and untold damage to the industry in Mexico). He calculates this at $770,000 per hospitalization and asks, simply, “Worth it?” Before you answer, you might want to factor […]

Jesse Helms Dead at 86

Jesse Helms Photo

Former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms died this morning, joining John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the distinction of passing on Independence Day. Raleigh’s WTVD notes, In North Carolina Helms was a polarizing figure, and he freely admitted that many people in the state strongly disliked him: “They (the Democrats) could nominate Mortimer Snerd and […]

Gay Brain Science: Homosexuality a Birth Defect?

Gay Parade Photo

Some people are right-brained. Others are left-brained. Apparently, some are gay-brained. What makes people gay? Biologists may never get a complete answer to that question, but researchers in Sweden have found one more sign that the answer lies in the structure of the brain. Scientists at the Karolinska Institute studied brain scans of 90 gay […]

Burma Air Drops

Barbara Stocking explains that simply dropping food into Burma is much harder than it sounds. [A]ir drops are not the aid equivalent of smart bombs. Running a humanitarian effort from the skies, like running a purely airborne war, is fraught with problems. For a start it requires excellent intelligence. Yet no one knows exactly where […]

Too Much, Too Little Sleep Bad for You

Unless you sleep exactly the right amount, you are doomed, a new government study finds. People who sleep fewer than six hours a night — or more than nine — are more likely to be obese, according to a new government study that is one of the largest to show a link between irregular sleep […]

New American Arsenal

New American Arsenal

I attended a briefing today at the National Press Club featuring some board members of the American Security Project promoting what they have dubbed “A New American Arsenal.” The bipartisan group, headed by Gary Hart and featuring the likes of John Kerry, Ken Duberstein, Richard Armitage, and several retired flag officers urges a return of […]

Information, DNA Testing and Economics


Over at reason Katherine Mangu-Ward has an interesting article on DNA testing and some of the impacts on workers, employers and the health care debate. She points to a bill in Congress that deals with this issue. Congress reached an agreement clearing the way for a bill to prohibit discrimination by employers and health insurers […]

1985 AIDS ‘Victim’ Still Alive

1985 AIDS Victim Still Alive

Michael Petrelis has learned that Lauren Burk, pictured along with her husband and infant child on a 1985 LIFE magazine feature informing us that “Now No One is Safe from AIDS,” is still very much alive. From the 1985 story: Patrick Burk fits the original profile of the AIDS patient because he is a hemophiliac […]

Eating Eggs Will Kill You

Eating Eggs Will Kill You

Remember the 1970s, when we thought eating eggs was really bad for you? Welcome back to the future. Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday. Men with diabetes who ate any eggs at all raised their risk of death during […]

Obama vs. McCain Fall Preview


Bill Kristol, fresh from various cocktail parties with conservatives and a couple of e-mails from Democrats, lays out his vision of how a general election contest between Barack Obama and John McCain will play out. He dismisses the notion that the prolonged, bitter fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton will ultimately hurt the Democrats, figuring […]

Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Hollywood legend and longtime NRA spokesman Charlton Heston had died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Robert W. Welkos and Susan King for the LAT: Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson and went on to become an unapologetic gun advocate and darling of […]

Time on Hillary’s Side? Or Obama’s?

Obama and Clinton - Six Weeks on the Road

Two reports highlighted at memeorandum give opposite views on what impact the six week lull between the Mississippi and Pennsylvania primaries will have on the Democratic race. ABC’s Rich Klein argues that it will benefit Hillary Clinton in a piece headlined “Time on Her Side: Obama Maintains Lead, but Clinton Might Have the Edge.” “When […]

John McCain’s Melanoma in Perspective


Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, and I have a similar medical history. In a recent NY Times article, Lawrence K. Altman, M.D reported, “Mr. McCain has had four (malignant) melanomas.” Until 2007 I was tied with the Senator. I had four of these deadly skin cancers diagnosed in 1993-94. A fifth […]

Working While Sick

Working While Sick

Laura W. argues, in a manner reminiscent of a sailor, that people who are sick should stay home rather than contaminating the workplace with their disease. Joy McCann retorts that Laura must never has worked anywhere where she was actually necessary. Joy’s right that some jobs are so deadline-driven that skipping work is simply not […]

Usury Laws, the Christian Right, and Bad Statistics

Usury Law, the Christian Right, and Bad Statistics Maps

A study (or, rather, a report on said study) by two law professors on the relationship between the availability of high-interest payday loans and representation by Christian conservative legislators is generating some blogospheric commentary. The study’s abstract: The culture war has become a national moniker describing a variety of policy debates between social conservatives and […]

Fat People, Smokers Have Lower Medical Bills

Fat People, Smokers Have Lower Medical Bills

Instead of lecturing smokers and the morbidly obese on their behavior, governments should encourage them. Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn’t save money, researchers reported Monday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity […]

Caption Contest Winners


The Smell Our Dairy Air Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Skim Milk Causes Cancer

Skim Milk Causes Cancer

It seems those that switched from whole- to skim or low fat milk for health reasons have increased their cancer risk. The amount of calcium and vitamin D in the diet appears to have little or no impact on the risk of prostate cancer, but the consumption of low-fat or nonfat milk may increase the […]

U.N. Overstated H.I.V. Cases by Millions

U.N. Overstated H.I.V. Cases by Millions

The global AIDS crisis is less dire than it has been portrayed, the UN admits. The United Nations’ AIDS-fighting agency plans to issue a report today acknowledging that it overestimated the size of the epidemic and that new infections with the deadly virus have been dropping each year since they peaked in the late 1990s. […]

Should Illegal Immigrants Get Driver’s Licenses?


Matt Yglesias notes that the Democratic presidential aspirants are having a difficult time answering the seemingly straightforward question, “Should illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses?” The problem with saying “yes” isn’t just that it’s unpopular, it’s that it’s unpopular because it sounds ridiculous. Quite right. I understand the argument that we’ve got millions of illegal aliens […]

FSO’s Rebel Over Iraq Assignment Policy


Foreign Service Officers are in open rebellion over an announcement that some will be ordered to go to Iraq if enough volunteers are not found. At a town hall meeting in the department’s main auditorium attended by hundreds of Foreign Service officers, some of them criticized fundamental aspects of State’s personnel policies in Iraq. They […]

Medical Marijuana Advocate Kills Herself

A 50-year-old woman committed suicide after 25 years of living with the pain of an autoimmune disease. Robin Prosser, a Missoula woman who struggled for a quarter century to live with the pain of an immunosuppressive disorder, tried years ago to kill herself. Last week, she tried again. This time, she succeeded. After her earlier […]

John McCain Health Care Plan


John McCain has unveiled his health care plan. The text of his speech to the Des Moines Rotary Club, at which he unveiled his plan, is here. The highlights (all excerpted direct quotations): The biggest problem with the American health care system is that it costs too much, and the way inflationary pressures are actually […]

National Toast: Drink a Beer for Michael Jackson


No, not the one-gloved one, the late beer and scotch-drinking Michael Jackson. We are talking about The Beerhunter here. As a fitting wake for the top writer of malted beverages, on Sunday September 30, at 9PM EST (OK, the USA is still on Daylight Savings, so maybe add or subtract one, or drink a beer […]

Bush Supports Human Rights, Press Sees Hypocrisy


McClatchy Newspapers is running a story with the headline “Bush astounds activists, supports human rights.” Here’s the lede: President Bush implored the United Nations on Tuesday to recommit itself to restoring human decency by liberating oppressed people and ending famine and disease. Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the president called for renewed efforts […]

Little Rock Nine Honored on 50th Anniversary


The nine black students who integrated Little Rock’s Central High School fifty years ago were honored by the governor and a host of dignitaries today. The Little Rock Nine, once barred from Central High School because they are black, arrived on its soggy campus in limousines Tuesday as the community marked 50 years since President […]

New bin Laden Video


A newly released Osama bin Laden video has been released and is being vetted by the intelligence community. he U.S. government has obtained a new video of Osama bin Laden marking the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and is analyzing it, three officials said Friday. Several intelligence agencies were looking at the video […]

John McCain Too Old?


Senator John McCain told off a kid who asked whether he was too old to be president. An unflinching John McCain was told Tuesday by New Hampshire high school students he might be too old to be president and too conservative to be respected. McCain, the Arizona senator whose presidential bid has stumbled through the […]

Edwards Opposes Medical Choice


If John Edwards is elected president, Americans will have no choice but go to the doctor when told. Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care. “It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive […]

John Edwards Wants to Reengage the World


Dan Drezner‘s right: Rudy Giuliani’s bizarre Foreign Affairs essay sucked all the oxygen out of the room, leaving no attention for John Edwards’ piece. I had intended to engage it yesterday but, given how vanishingly unlikely it is that Edwards will get the Democratic nomination, I never got around to it. Drezner captured my attention, […]

Too Much Security


Measures taken to ourselves from risks often cause more harm than the risks themselves. When does too much security become, well, too much? According to Steve Riley, senior security strategist at Microsoft, it becomes too much when the cost of mitigating the risk outweighs the cost of that which you are trying to protect. […] […]

Libya Releases Doctor and Nurses


Six medical workers held in Libya since 1999 on preposterous charges have been released in exchange for diplomatic concessions. Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who had been imprisoned for 8 1/2 years in Libya arrived to a hero’s welcome Tuesday after being released from life sentences for allegedly contaminating children with the AIDS […]

Admiral Eugene Fluckey, Medal of Honor and Four Time Navy Cross Recipient, RIP

Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

The word “hero” is getting attached to many things since 2001. Sometimes it isn’t just doing something as an individual, it is being the one making the decisions affecting the lives of 50 or 100 men, as well as oneself. That is what true leadership is. Rear Adm. Eugene B. Fluckey, one of the greatest […]

Hillary’s AIDS Lie

AIDS Trends - U.S. Federal Spending

In last night’s non-debate among Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton got the biggest applause line of the night: “If H.I.V./AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.” She continued, “If we don’t begin to take it seriously and […]

Africa AIDS Ignorance


Dan Drezner and Preeti Aroon decry the woeful state of understanding of AIDS in Africa. Among the more astonishing examples is the president of Gambia’s claim to be able to personally cure the disease (along with asthma and diabetes) and the South African vice president — the former head of the country’s AIDS program, no […]

Call Fat Kids Fat, Docs Say

Fat Albert Cartoon

A group of medical experts recommends calling obese kids “obese” even if it hurts their feelings. Doctors ought to quit using fuzzy terms to define children’s weight problems and instead refer to truly fat kids as overweight or obese, a committee of medical experts recommended. Less blunt terms used by the government and many doctors […]

Dinosaurs Died Agonizing Deaths


A new theory suggests that dinosaurs suffocated to death. Fossilized dinosaurs often have wide-open mouths, heads thrown back and tails that curve toward the head. Paleontologists have long assumed the dinosaurs died in water and the currents drifted the bones into that position, or that rigor mortis or drying muscles, tendons and ligaments contorted the […]

Lying Lou


Lou Dobbs that is. Daniel Drezner points to New York Times op-ed that looks at some of Lou Dobbs claims, and the results aren’t pretty. The [60 Minutes] segment was a profile of Mr. Dobbs, and while doing background research for it, a “60 Minutes” producer came across a 2005 news report from Mr. Dobbs’s […]

Peanut Butter Update

Via the AP: Peanut butter salmonella cases top 600 The number of people sickened since August by peanut butter tainted with salmonella has grown by more than 200, according to a new federal report. The outbreak, first reported in February, now includes 628 cases in 47 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said […]



Cross-posted from PoliBlog: While there are very important and legitimate issues that need debating and resolution in the immigration arena, one of the major problems that has stymied such debate is the clear presence of xenophobia (meaning the irrational fear of foreign persons or foreign things in general) that infuses the discussion. A case in […]

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