Saturday, November 16, 2013

Princeton students at risk of getting meningitis B – CDC takes unusual steps to stop it

  Good Day World!

 What happens when a sudden outbreak of a fast-moving infection shows up at an Ivy league University and there’s nothing to stop it in America?

That’s been the case at Princeton, and now the 8,000 students there are going to get a vaccine for the deadly infection…as soon as it arrives from overseas.

American students, for reasons I couldn’t tell you, aren’t vaccinated again meningitis B, which presents a serious problem:

According to the CDC, between 10 percent and 12 percent of those who get meningitis B die, and about 20 percent of those who recover can wind up with severe side effects including deafness, mental retardation and limb amputations.

There’s so many scary bugs out there these days. Every time I hear about some kind of health outbreak due to some nasty new (and/or old) bug I shudder. Here’s what’s happening:

Emergency doses of a meningitis vaccine not approved for use in the U.S. may soon be on the way to Princeton University to halt an outbreak of the potentially deadly infection that has sickened seven students since March.

Government health officials said Friday they have agreed to import Bexsero, a vaccine licensed only in Europe and Australia that protects against meningitis B, a strain not covered by the shots recommended for college students in the U.S.

"This is a bad disease and we know how devastating it is," Dr. Thomas Clark, acting head of the Centers for Disease Control's meningitis and vaccine preventable diseases branch, told NBC News. "A lot of us had a gut feeling that there would be more cases and we should get the ball rolling."

The unprecedented move could aim to inoculate the nearly 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the Ivy League school in hopes of stopping the spread of an illness that kills 10 percent or more of teens and young adults who get it.

"If you're a student at Princeton University right now, your risk is quite high," Clark said. Full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, November 15, 2013

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Folks in Florida Have that Sinking Feeling Again!

Good Day World!

 I’m funny about some things.

 If I even suspected my house was in sinkhole heaven, I’d move! Residents of Florida live with the knowledge their house, boats, swimming pools, and even themselves are subject to suddenly disappearing into the earth!

You go to bed on nice level ground, and wake up in a giant hole in the earth…if you’re lucky. One poor individual – about a year ago – didn’t wake up when he and his bed dropped into a cavernous hole never to be seen again despite the efforts of would-be rescuers.

Why would anyone live in an area like that? I suppose the same can be said about people who live in tornedo alley – that collection of states that gets clobbered annually - or along the Gulf Coast. Some people may think California is dangerous. earthquakes are no joke.

As a transplanted Oregonian, I thought I was living in the safest possible place in the country. Turns out, scientists say Southern Oregon is going to disappear some day when an expected massive quake strikes!

Despite that possibility, I’ll take my chances here. I suspect the odds of dropping down a gaping hole in the earth are higher in Florida. Here’s the latest example of disappearing real estate in the Sunshine State: 

Another large sinkhole has formed in Florida, causing parts of two homes to collapse and swallowing a boat and a backyard pool.

The sinkhole in Dunedin, Fla., erupted early Thursday morning between the two houses, and by noon, had grown to a size of about 70 feet wide by 53 feet deep.

"There was apparently some work being done to try to fill in what they thought was a sinkhole beneath the house the last couple of days," Dunedin Fire Chief Jeff Parks said. "The owner woke up this morning at 5:40 when he heard noises on his back porch and went out and found the sinkhole at that point."

Six houses in Dunedin — a city on central Florida's west coast — were evacuated, and power and utility lines were cut after officials arrived. The engineering company that was working on the house earlier in the week was also on the scene, waiting for the ground around the sinkhole to be stable enough for them to work to fill it.

"They thought it would slow down to the point where it would stop, but in the last half hour, it's still continued to grow," Parks said. "They're just assessing right now to see what they can do."

Sinkholes are relatively common in Florida, but do not always cause major disruption or injuries. In February, a Seffner, Fla., man was killed when a massive sinkhole opened up underneath his family's home.

Engineers had been pouring grout into the house's foundation for the past two days, Michael Dupre told in Florida.  read full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Heigh Ho! It’s the Nasal Ranger! Who Was that Funny Man With a Nose Telescope?

Denver, Colorado—one of the cities in the country to legalize marijuana use—has passed a new “odor ordinance” with a potential $2,000 fine for anyone found guilty of polluting the atmosphere with high concentrations of cannabis.

And the police department's plan for enforcement is a strange-looking device called an olfactometer, or more colloquially, the "nose telescope."

The so-called environmental ordinance is a result of confusion over the legality of somebody smoking in their own house should the smell seep out into the street. According to the odor ordinance, the smell is viewed as problematic if it is detectable once the smoke is mixed with seven times the volume of clean air. Denver police plan to use the "nose telescope" to enforce the ordinance. (Story here)

Boehner’s latest lie: US Had Best Healthcare in World Before Obamacare

Compulsive liar and House Speaker John (Spineless) Boehner accused President Obama of wrecking the world’s best health care system today.

This is going to destroy the best health care delivery system in the world,” Boehner said.

Later on, President Obama announced a plan to fix the fallout over canceled health insurance policies. 

But was Boehner’s accusation true? Could it be?

Let’s see: two studies came out this week — and studies going back 15 years or longer — show quite the opposite. Americans pay more per capita for health care than people in any other industrialized country. In return, we are sicker, die younger and are unhappier with the system.

Can that be any clearer?

The Commonwealth Fund, which does research on health care and health reform, has shown year after year in its regular surveys that Americans spend a lot more on health care than anyone else.

Right now it’s $2.7 trillion a year — that’s $8,508 a head, compared to $5,669 per person in Norway and $5,643 in Switzerland, the next-highest-spending countries. New Zealanders spend just $3,182 per person.

The U.S. has the eighth-lowest life expectancy in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which groups developed nations.

So today’s latest lie was just more of the same bullshit from Boehner, who wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him and made him cry!

GAO Report: TSA Behavioral Screening Program a Waste of Money

    Good Day World!

TSA Administrator John S. Pistole is likely to be asked about a controversial report during an appearance before the House Homeland Security Committee today. 

In essence, the billion dollar behavioral screening program used by TSA workers, is worthless! They would have been better off putting the money elsewhere. Even new uniforms would have been better. At least they would have something to show for that huge pile of cash! Anywhere, but in that pathetic program.

The following article shares a recent GAO report that states the program isn’t working as intended:

The federal government may have wasted $1 billion on a TSA program called “SPOT” that profiles people who may be “bad guys” at airports by talking to them, according to the Government Accountability Office. There is no evidence that it works, according to a GAO report being released later Wednesday.

The Transportation Security Administration’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program relies on training personnel to recognize indicators like fear, stress or deceptive behavior that can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security. Those who exhibit those indicators are then subjected to additional security screening.

But the GAO report, obtained by NBC News before its release, concludes the training produces results that are “the same as or slightly better than chance.” 

The program was rolled out in 2007 and now fields an estimated 3,000 “behavior detection officers” at 176 of the more than 450 TSA-regulated airports in the U.S., the GAO report said. Full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Americans get little value for their money when it comes to healthcare

Good Day World!

We face rising health costs almost annually. It’s like a rite of spring. Costs climb like creeping vines throughout the medical industry, from prescriptions to surgeries. A deadly trend that is financially ruining a growing majority of Americans.

With the Affordable Health Care Act stumbling along like a cripple without a cane, any relief seems far away. Especially since President Obama’s mea culpa on the too-early launch of the program commonly called Obamacare. He claims he’s just found out that some Americans are really being stiffed by the new law.

That doesn’t leave me brimming with confidence if our president wasn’t getting the whole story. Lousy advisors? He made a promise to the people that he can’t keep now. Whose to blame for that? Where do we go from here?

No matter how you look at it, our nation’s healthcare system is a disaster, with dimming hopes of redemption from a new law full of loopholes. Plainly put, there’s no going back to what didn’t work, so we better hope the overhaul straightens out the exposed holes in the system.

Finally, why is our health care so expensive? What factors have led us to this bad place where people cannot afford to get medical help when they need it? The following article offers some insight into the issue:

U.S. medical care is getting ever pricier, but it’s not because so many old people are running up charges, experts reported Tuesday. Most of the money’s being spent on people under 65 with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

And even though the U.S. spends $2.7 trillion a year, nearly 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), on health care, it’s not keeping up with the rest of the developed world when it comes to improving people’s health.

“It does show pretty clearly that price is the culprit here,” Dr. Hamilton Moses of the Alerion Institute in Virginia and Johns Hopkins University told reporters.

“Based on this review…the U.S. ‘system’ has performed relatively poorly,” Moses and colleagues wrote in the report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Their findings echo what other experts have found – U.S. health care gives little value for the money. (Full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Here’s the deal: Vitamins don’t prevent heart disease or cancer

Good Day World!

There’s not much evidence that vitamins can prevent heart disease or cancer – the two leading killers of Americans, experts say.

Even though half the U.S. population pops vitamins in the belief they can help people live longer, healthier lives, a very extensive look at the studies that have been done show it may be a waste of time when it comes to preventing the diseases most likely to kill you.

The findings, by a team at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., being used as the basis to update recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), aren’t clear-cut. They are likely to add to confusion over the benefits of vitamins.

"A healthy balanced diet is critical for good health, and that's probably the most important way that we get the nutrients that are essential," says Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a heart disease specialist at the University of California San Francisco who's a member of the Task Force.

“The USPSTF reviewed 24 studies of individual vitamins, minerals, or functional nutrient pairs. Across all the supplements studied, there was no evidence of beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease, cancer, or all-cause mortality," they wrote. (Full story here)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Employers are mad because Johnny can’t write!

Good Day World!

Can you tell a pronoun from a participle; use commas correctly in long sentences; describe the difference between its and it's?

If not, you have plenty of company in the world of job seekers. Despite stubbornly high unemployment, many employers complain that they can't find qualified candidates.

Often, the mismatch results from applicants' inadequate communication skills. In survey after survey, employers are complaining about job candidates' inability to speak and to write clearly.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were a net 204,000 new jobs created in October, though the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent. The numbers easily topped economist expectations of 120,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs for the month.

Experts differ on why job candidates can't communicate effectively. Bram Lowsky, an executive vice president of Right Management, the workforce management arm of Manpower, blames technology.

(Read full story here)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Majority of Americans think JFK assassination was a conspiracy

Good Day World!

 The Warren Commission report -- the 888-page document produced by the committee appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate John F. Kennedy’s assassination -- remains the official account of what happened in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

But in the decades since, the report, which determined that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, has created more uncertainty than closure, according to a new book by former New York Times investigative reporter Philip Shenon.

“At the end of the day, unfortunately, the Warren Commission left so many questions unanswered that we will probably forever more have to deal with conspiracy theories about the assassination,” said Shenon, the author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.

As the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death approaches, a majority of Americans – 59 percent – believe in some sort of conspiracy behind the assassination, according to a poll by the Associated Press and GfK, a public opinion research firm.

The poll, conducted in April, found that nearly one in six Americans suspect that multiple people were involved in a plot to kill the president. Twenty-four percent believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and 16 percent are unsure. A Gallup poll from 2003 found that three-quarters of Americans subscribe to some sort of conspiracy theory, though there was no consensus – mafia, Cuban or Soviet involvement, perhaps? – about which theory to believe. (Read full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...