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June 2011
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August 2011

July 2011

The Big Bang

It's quite interesting when virtually all of the mainstream movie critics miss the boat on a nifty little feature. This stylish neo noir boasts a stellar cast and first-rate production design, along with an offbeat story.

Rent this one, after you read my complete review.

The NTP fails on styrene--big time

This week's HND piece examines the colossal screw-up by the National Toxicology Program, in which they listed the essential chemical styrene as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." This was done despite massive amounts of scientific evidence to the contrary, and is now the subject of litigation.

Given the obdurate attitude of the NTP, my take is that they are actually desperate to show "something" to their allies in the lunatic fringe of the fear entrepreneurial chemophobes. Apparently, a petition from 63 members of the House to go slow was not enough, so this mess is now in federal court.

The biggest joke of all is that the NTP claims that listings in its Report on Carcinogens are science-based, but nothing could be further from the truth. Science fiction, maybe.

Read the complete article.

All you need is health and a whole lot of money

This week's HND piece looks at health care and financial planning. For those of you approaching age 65, it might come as a shock that Medicare doesn't cover many items. In fact, even the best supplemental insurance will still have gaps.

To get a better understanding of this, I interviewed good guy financial planner Bob Jackson, of Scottsdale, AZ. Pull quote: "We used to plan for a longevity in the mid-80s, but we now plan for a longevity of 93 for most clients, unless they have major health problems."

Also included is the sad tale of a couple that thought they had it made for retirement, until...

Read the complete article.

The Roger Clemens prosecution--Epic Fail!

Let's get this clear at the outset. I don't care a fig about steroid usage by pro athletes, and I have written about this before. Here, here, and here.

So, the very notion of the Feds going after Roger Clemens starts off as a fool's errand. I know that his offense is perjury, but that case only existed because of the whole steroids nonsense.

After spending millions of dollars—presumably to get the sure win—the prosecution failed in a manner that sets an unbeatable all-time record for stupidity.

Let's use a sports analogy here. There is at least one record in pro football that will never be surpassed, since by definition it cannot be improved upon. That would be the 98 yard longest punt record, achieved by the New York Jets' Steve O'Neal in 1969. Consider that the line of scrimmage was the 1-yard line, and the ball traveled to the opponent's (Denver Broncos) 1-yard line. While commentators may speak of a "half-yard line," this has no official recognition.

Likewise, presenting evidence in open court that has already been ruled inadmissible is probably as bad as it can get for the prosecution. "I think that a first-year law student would know you can't bolster the credibility of one witness with clearly inadmissible evidence," U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said. A mistrial was declared, and that's probably the end of the line for this case.

So much for the idea that we should try terrorism suspects in civil courts, when moronic prosecutors such as Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham are at large. I'm not sure why Durham wasn't cited for contempt.

Your tax dollars hard at work, America.

Summertime health and safety tips

My latest HND piece looks at a few ways to stay alive and healthy this summer.

I start off by discussing the surprising fact that there are nearly twice as many car accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day than the rest of the year combined. And then there's the sad statistic that teenage drivers are responsible for nearly 50 percent more drunk driving accidents during the summer months, compared to the rest of the year.

We take a look at the new FDA sunscreen rules, extreme heat precautionary measures, and a wonderful natural cure for poison ivy, courtesy of our buddy, Dr. JJ.

Read the complete article.

What about the outcomes?

Is it just me, or have you also noticed that the most important part of health care, namely outcomes, is almost never discussed? I look at one aspect of this in my latest HND piece.

I started off writing about the pitfalls of implementing information technology in health care, but then found myself in yet another scenario where patient outcomes were not even on the radar, let alone of any priority. Case in point: Dirty PCs used in the intensive care unit—and elsewhere in the hospital—caused the spread of super bugs.

Even if you don't care about outcomes in this context, you will not be pleased with the finding that there is no agreement as to what constitutes a "successful" HIT (health care information technology) implementation. But don't worry. Obama and company have set up a bounty of $19 billion to reward "Meaningful Use" of HIT. The tragedy is that so many people think the mess he and his co-conspirators came up with is actually health care reform.

Read the complete article.