Medicine

Butchery and Botchery

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Everett, Washington, 30 August 2016. (Detail of frame via YouTube)

Chauncey DeVega inquires after a point close to the heart of the #trumpswindle:

What happens when Trump and the Republican Party are done feasting on the “white working class” and their other supporters? When the bones are picked clean, to whom will they turn for a meal? People of conscience know the answer even if it terrifies them.

If a budget is a kind of moral document and a statement of priorities, Trump has shown that he is an enemy of the American people and the common good—including his most stalwart supporters. If Trump is willing to betray them, all others should quake in fear at what he plans for his enemies in the process of “making America great again.”

The question echoes: To call for Main Street over Wall Street, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump? To call for empathy with the working classes, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump? To drain the swamp of entrenched interests, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump?

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The One About a Spare Cerebellum

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

This is … er … a lede:

Here’s a horrifying little story to kick off your weekend: A 16-year-old girl in Japan recently had a tumor surgically removed from her ovary — and when her doctors split it open, they found a tiny brain growing inside.

Or, you know, as the headline from Science of Us explained, “Doctors Found a Tiny Second Brain Growing Inside This Woman’s Tumor”.

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A Trivial Question About Your Coffee Cup

A coffee cup at Terra Vista. Detail of photo by B. D. Hilling, 2013.

Cari Romm explains, for Science of Us, a few details about why “It’s Okay to Never Wash Your Coffee Mug”:

As Heidi Mitchell wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal column, it’s fine to never wash your mug, as long as you’re not sharing it with anybody else. Better than fine, in fact: It may actually be the most sanitary option.

There are two caveats to that statement, infectious-disease expert Jeffrey Starke, a pediatrics professor at Baylor College of Medicine, told Mitchell: One, it only applies if you’re not sharing the mug with anybody else. And two, “if you leave cream or sugar in your mug over the weekend, that can certainly cause mold to grow”―in which case, wash it out.

The bottom line, Romm suggests, is that “letting your mug live in its own filth may be a safer bet than the alternative: scrubbing it with the disgusting communal sponge in the office kitchen”.

And, yes, there is the bit about putting the sponge in the microwave, but this still begs a question.

Who says you absolutely must use a sponge?

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Romm, Cari. “It’s Okay to Never Wash Your Coffee Mug”. Science of Us. 3 November 2016.

A Threshold (Choices)

Detail of frame from "Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor", episode 9, 'They Met One Day, Unexpectedly ...'. L-R, Kiko Kayanuma, July, and Suou Pavlichenko discuss the profitability of a cat café versus more mundane work as a book editor, and Mao (lower right) hides in Suou's satchel.

The exclusive lede from Reuters:

American women are ending pregnancies with medication almost as often as with surgery, marking a turning point for abortion in the United States, data reviewed by Reuters shows.

It has apparently been something of a long time coming. Pharmaceutical terminations won approval sixteen years ago; the report from Jilian Mincer explains, “the method was expected to quickly overtake the surgical option”. Political opposition to abortion slowed the transition:

Although many limitations remain, innovative dispensing efforts in some states, restricted access to surgical abortions in others and greater awareness boosted medication abortions to 43 percent of pregnancy terminations at Planned Parenthood clinics, the nation’s single largest provider, in 2014, up from 35 percent in 2010, according to previously unreported figures from the nonprofit.

The national rate is likely even higher now because of new federal prescribing guidelines that took effect in March. In three states most impacted by that change―Ohio, Texas and North Dakota―demand for medication abortions tripled in the last several months to as much as 30 percent of all procedures in some clinics, according to data gathered by Reuters from clinics, state health departments and Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Among states with few or no restrictions, medication abortions comprise a greater share, up to 55 percent in Michigan and 64 percent in Iowa.

What, really, can we add? It seems somewhat inappropriate to glibly note that Americans do catch up to the rest of the world, now and then, despite our best efforts to the other.

Oh, right.

Damn.

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Mincer, Jilian. “Exclusive: Abortion by prescription now rivals surgery for U.S. women”. Reuters. 31 October 2016.

Responsible Gun Ownership (#Benghazi!)

'Scuse me while I responsibly point this at you.

Ángel González of the Seattle Times landed the unfortunate duty of penning the article:

Dane Gallion, 29, told officers he took the gun to Regal Cinemas 14 at the Landing on Thursday night because he was “concerned about recent mass shootings in public places,” according to a police account in a probable-cause statement released Saturday.

That same anxiety prompted him to keep the gun unholstered in his waistband, the statement says.

This is one of those. Gravity. Downhill. Abyss of stupidity. Really, it only gets worse.

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The Only Explanation That Counts

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 16 December 2015.Explanations come and go, but this is the only one that counts: It’s Bug Martini.

And, you know, of all the things to waste the pun on, well, yeah. That’s our Adam.

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Image note: Detail of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 16 December 2015.

Dangerous Medicine

Turtle … fart … spritzer.

Okay, so … right.

Adam Huber, ladies and gentlemen.

Maybe turtle fart spritzer can go on the menu beside a dirty bug martini.

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Huber, Adam. “A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Deception Go Down”. Bug Martini. 16 October 2015.

Becoming a Ritual

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio responds to reporters about the impasse over passing the Homeland Security budget because of Republican efforts to block President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House voted last month to end Homeland Security funding on Saturday unless Obama reverses his order to protect millions of immigrants from possible deportation. After Democratic filibusters blocked the bill in the Senate, the chaber's Republican leaders agreed this week to offer a "clean" funding measure, with no immigration strings attached. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Is familiarity a bad thing?

The pieces are now in place for a replay of the GOP’s 2013 shutdown. Cruz is marshaling his House forces; Boehner and his leadership team have no idea how to move forward; and far-right lawmakers have a simple-but-unobtainable goal. The question is whether this time, we should expect a different result.

The beleaguered Speaker told reporters this morning, “The goal here is not to shut down the government. The goal is to stop these horrific practices of organizations selling baby parts.”

As a substantive matter, this is obviously nonsense – “selling baby parts” is illegal, and that’s not at all what Planned Parenthood has done – but as a political matter, is also non-constructive nonsense. If Boehner is serious about averting another GOP-imposed crisis, he probably ought to start being a little more responsible.

Of course, the more responsibly he behaves, the more likely it is the extremists in his conference will try to oust him – so Boehner’s in an unenviable spot.

(Benen)

There was some chatter last month, while Congress was away, in which pundits and analysts wondered whether the GOP would attempt a shutdown. And now that we arrive at this chapter, it seems almost a foolish question: Of course they are.

So here’s the thing: With less than a fortnight’s scheduled legislative through the month of September, Congress has a papal visit slated, as well as routine legislation such as a highway bill and the Export-Import Bank reauthorization that the Republican leadership just can’t seem to accomplish, and the Iran deal, at least, which the House has just broken into three parts in order to do something ostensibly more useful than just making inevitability that much more complicated.

Remember this, as we endure the ascending electoral cycle: When Republicans complain that government just doesn’t work, it would behoove us to check again to make certain it isn’t their own damn fault.

And the results, you know, are starting to look a little too consistent.

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Benen, Steve. “As shutdown deadline draws closer, GOP leaders seem lost”. msnbc. 10 September 2015.

A Potsherd Wrapped in Tinfoil Wrapped in Whatnow?

Alveda King

“They entice these ladies into their facility knowing that once they get there, it’s a very lucrative experience. Because they’re going to give her medicines and birth control shots and pills and things that will expose her to breast cancer. Then she’ll go to Susan Komen, because Susan Komen exchanges money with Planned Parenthood, the money goes back and forth between them. And if she gets pregnant, they’re going to give her an abortion and then they’re going to traffic the body parts of the baby. So they make a lot of money off of black women that are underserved, off of all women.”

Alveda King

This is … uh ....

Say what?No, really. This is what it comes to? I mean, holy shit, what does that even mean?

Seriously: How does that even make sense? And here’s an even better question: Is that word salad coherent enough to percolate into the news cycle as a real conspiracy theory?

Alveda King is, after all, a FOX News contributor.

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Arana, Gabriel. “Fox News Signs Alveda King, Niece of Martin Luther King Jr., As Contributor”. The Huffington Post. 6 March 2015.

Blue, Miranda. “Alveda King: Planned Parenthood Gives Women Breast Cancer So They Will Donate To Susan G. Komen”. Right Wing Watch. 27 August 2015.

A Meandering Consideration of Absolutism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, 3 March 2015.  (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

“Maybe it’s an unfortunate hallmark of contemporary conservative thought?”

Steve Benen

Over at Slate, Fred Kaplan offers an interesting consideration:

It’s looking more and more like Benjamin Netanyahu committed a strategic blunder in so ferociously opposing the Iran nuclear deal and in rallying his American allies to spend all their resources on a campaign to kill the deal in Congress.

SlateIf current trends hold, the Israeli prime minister and his stateside lobbyists—mainly AIPAC—are set to lose this fight. It’s politically risky for Israel’s head of state to go up against the president of his only big ally and benefactor; it’s catastrophic to do so and come away with nothing. Similarly, it’s a huge defeat for AIPAC, whose power derives from an image of invincibility. American politicians and donors might get the idea that the group isn’t so invincible after all, that they can defy its wishes, now and then, without great risk.

It would have been better for Netanyahu—and for Israel—had he maybe grumbled about the Iran deal but not opposed it outright, let alone so brazenly. He could have pried many more favors from Obama in exchange for his scowl-faced neutrality. Not that Obama, or any other American president, will cut Israel off; but relations will remain more strained, and requests for other favors (for more or bigger weapons, or for certain votes in international forums) will be scrutinized more warily, than they would have been.

There is, of course, much more to Kaplan’s consideration, including the implications of current Congressional momentum and the widening gap between the credibility of favoring and opposing arguments. Toward the latter, he notes, “Most criticisms of the deal actually have nothing to do with the deal”, and that’s about as least unfavorable as his critique of the criticism gets.

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