Healthcare Halloween: Trick or Treat!

October 31, 2014

Healthcare Halloween: Trick or Treat!

It’s Halloween, time for a good scare:

“Obamacare Faces New Threat as Supreme Court Weighs Appeal,” Greg Stohr, Bloomberg News

“It’s open season for Medicare-user scams,” Pamela Yip, Dallas Morning News

“A brief history of politicized health scares, starting with Ebola,” Jason Millman, Washington Post

“10 Most Serious Public Health Scares Ever,” MPHonline

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-k6j

Photo (“Open Enrollment: Room for One More!”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Pumpkin Products Plague 2014

October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Products Plague 2014

Pumpkin products are proliferating this year. Is pumpkin the new kale? Could be. Foods and beverages without pumpkin in them are heavily adulterated with “Pumpkin Spice.” What is that magical substance? Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, and Allspice, the stuff you put in pumpkin pie so you don’t have to taste the pumpkin squash.

More:

“10 products that have absolutely no business being pumpkin-flavored,” Lindsay Abrams, Salon

“Enough with the bleeping pumpkins!” Cristina Alesci and Paul R. La Monica, CNN Money

The greatest trick capitalism ever pulled was making you want a pumpkin spice latte
Updated by Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

“The Company That Tested Pumpkin-Spice Foie-Gras Mashed Potatoes,” Tanya Basu, The Atlantic

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Going Home

October 28, 2014

“Going Home,” a short film directed by Vikas Bahl, featuring Alia Bhatt.

Read about it here.

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-k5I

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Blackwater Contract Killers Finally Convicted. After a Fashion.

October 24, 2014

Contractor Killers in Your Name
Four former Blackwater Worldwide “security contractors” were finally convicted for killing 14 innocent civilians and wounding 17 more in 2007 when they indiscriminately opened fire at a busy intersection at Baghdad’s Nisour Square. One of the victims was nine years old. Only one of the private army “contractors,” sniper Nicholas A. Slatten, was convicted of murder; the other three — Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough — were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and the use of machine guns in a violent crime. The sentences for the machine gun convictions may actually be longer than those for taking innocent human lives.

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In the USA, the Real Plague Is Fear-Mongering.

October 22, 2014

In the USA, the Real Plague Is Fear-Mongering.

The Ebola virus is deadly for those who catch it; i.e., most of them die. But it’s transmitted by contact with bodily fluids, so it’s not very contagious and spreads slowly. You’re very much more likely to catch and die from the Flu. Unlike the Flu, Ebola isn’t transmitted through the air, but that doesn’t stop American fear-mongers from poisoning the political and media atmosphere with Ebola panic:

“‘Fear-bola’ hits epidemic proportions,” Mel Robbins, CNN

‘Ebola Is Bringing Out The Worst In Cable News,” Joaquim Moreira Salles, Think Progress

“PBS science reporter: Fox’s Ebola coverage is ‘a level of ignorance we should not allow,'” David Edwards, Raw Story

“CBS Medical Correspondent Shuts Down Fear-Mongering On The Transmission Of Ebola,” Media Matters

“You’re more likely to die of a shark attack or bee sting than contract Ebola in the US,” German Lopez, Vox

“Some Fear Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

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Dr. Oz and The Baloney Diet

October 21, 2014

Dr. Oz and the Baloney Diet

Produced by Joss Fong, Joe Posner, Alex Hawley; narrated by Julia Belluz.

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Classic Hip-Hop: Rap for Geezers

October 20, 2014

Classic Hip-Hop: Rap for Geezers

A Houston news radio station changed formats last week:

“. . . Rechristened Boom 92, the station declared that it would become the first major market radio station dedicated to classic hip hop. Instead of Drake and Nicki Minaj, it would play “the hip hop you grew up with”—assuming that you grew up with Dr. Dre and Missy Elliott. If that sounds awesome to you, you’re going to love a recent Boom 92 playlist.

In many ways, this is an idea whose time has come, which is another way of saying that hip-hop, and its first-wave fans, are, well, old. Dre will be 50 in February; Ice-T is just 10 years away from his first Social Security check. Licensed to Ill topped the Billboard charts in 1987; three years later, hip-hop made up one-third of the Hot 100. By 1999, it was the country’s best-selling genre, with more than 81 million albums sold. The fans who propelled the early boom probably don’t know Young Thug from Rich Homie Quan, and don’t want to.

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Privilege

October 19, 2014

Privilege
TV talker Bill O’Reilly has waged a persistent campaign denying the existence of White Privilege. Jon Stewart recently confronted him about it, asking about his upbringing in the original suburban subdivision, Levittown, on New York’s Long Island.

“It gave you a nice stable, a cheap home,” said Stewart, “there were no down payments.It was this incredible opportunity … Those houses were subsidized … It wasn’t lavish.”

O’Reilly: No, they weren’t subsidized. They were sold to GIs, and the GIs got a mortgage they could afford.”

Stewart: “Did that upbringing leave a mark on you even today?”

O’Reilly: “Of course. Every upbringing leaves a mark on people.”

Stewart: “Could black people live in Levittown?”

O’Reilly: “Not in that time — they could not.”

Stewart: “So that, my friend, is what we call in the business ‘white privilege.’”

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The Google Camel

October 16, 2014

The Google Camel

How do you take Google Street View photos of the Arabian desert? You can’t cruise the dunes in a camera-mounted car without damaging the delicate sand structures, so you put your camera on a camel. A female dromedary, actually (one hump, not two) named Raffia.

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Paul Ryan, Republican Intellectual

October 14, 2014

Paul Ryan, Republican Intellectual

Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) is running for reelection, and he’s rolled out his Big Ideas:

In the realm Higher Mathematics, he’s figured out how to cut taxes but keep popular tax deductions and government benefits. The method seems to involve lots of sleight-of-hand and wishful thinking. Maybe there’s a secret formula in Atlas Shrugged.

In Climate Science, Mr. Ryan has determined that humans have not contributed to Global Warming, despite decades of research that indicate otherwise with a 97% consensus. This isn’t just a tree-hugger matter; the Pentagon says Climate Change is a threat to National Security.

Related:

“How Paul Ryan Convinced Washington of His Genius,” Alec MacGillis, The New Republic

“Like Newt Gingrich? You’ll Love Paul Ryan.” NotionsCapital.com

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-k3f

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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