More Random News Events of the Week

A Review of “The American War in Afghanistan,” Carter Malkasian, Foreign Affairs

In 2008, I interviewed the United Kingdom’s then outgoing military commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, in a dusty firebase in Helmand Province, where international troops had been battling the Taliban on a daily basis for territory that kept slipping away. Carleton-Smith stated the war in Afghanistan could not be won militarily. He was the first senior coalition military officer to say so publicly, and the story made the front page of the British Sunday Times. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates promptly denounced Carleton-Smith to the news media as “defeatist.”

Thirteen years on, U.S. President Joe Biden appears to have reached the same conclusion as the British brigadier.

The Debate Over Critical Race Theory, The Atlantic, Caroline Mimbs Nyce

The GOP has found a new cultural boogeyman, and it’s “critical race theory.” I style that term in quotes because, as my colleague Adam Harris points out, some of the texts under fire bear little resemblance to the academic theory. Instead, the term has become a catchall for conservative angst over the way race is taught and understood in America.

And GOP concerns aren’t limited to the classroom: Last week, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz raised the issue during a hearing on the January 6 insurrection. 

Multiple bullet wounds found in remains of Black man during search for Tulsa massacre victims, National Geographic, Tucker C. Toole

Skeletal remains unearthed at a mass grave as part of an investigation into the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre have revealed that at least one of the victims was shot several times, including in the head and shoulder. The discovery, announced last week, comes less than a month following  the 100th anniversary of one of the nation’s most heinous acts of racial violence.

Defund the police’: What it means and what the research says on whether more police presence reduces crime, The Journalist’s Resource, Clark Merefield

Last June, video of white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd, a Black man, went viral on social media. Uprisings took hold across hundreds of U.S. cities, and activist calls to “defund the police” went mainstream.

For some, “defund the police” is a movement, a stepping stone toward abolishing police departments entirely.

What is a heat dome? Pacific Northwest swelters in record temperatures, National Geographic, Sarah Gibbons

In a swath that stretches across the Pacific Northwest, 13 million people are sweltering under an extreme heat wave that has shattered records in Portland and Seattle, boosting temperatures in both cities well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend and into this week.

When hospitals acquire physician practices, it can influence how individual physicians practice medicine: New research, The Journalist’s Resource, Kerry Dooley Young

One new study finds that doctors who shifted to hospital employment were more likely to refer their patients for “inappropriate” MRIs. Another links the shift to a rise in tests ordered for Medicare patients.

I have not deep-dived this one yet. I will be writing on this topics hortly.

How A Public Option Could Hold Down Costs, Health Affairs Blog, Ken Terry

Whether the United States eventually embraces Medicare for All or continues stumbling along with its current health care financing system, cost control will be paramount. To make health care affordable and sustainable in the long run, we’d first have to reduce spending growth to the rate of general inflation and then reverse the cost curve.

I am not in favor of Medicare 4 All as opposed to Single Payer which attacks costs.

Association of Branded Prescription Drug Rebate Size and Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs in a Nationally Representative Sample, 2007-2018, JAMA Network Open; Kai Yeung, PharmD, PhD; Stacie B. Dusetzina, PhD; Anirban Basu, PhD

In this cross-sectional study of estimated rebates for 444 unique branded drugs prescriptions filled by 38 131 unique individuals. Increasing rebates to PBMs are causing increasing out-of-pocket costs for those with Medicare, commercial insurance, or no insurance.

200-foot chunk of Pictured Rocks cliff face breaks off into Lake Superior, Detroit Free Press, Emma Stein

Jahn Martin was visiting Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula when a 200-foot chunk of the cliff suddenly broke off and fell into Lake Superior.  Jahn caught on video.

Biden to pay farmers to grow carbon-capturing crops, Politico, Helna Bottemillerevich and Ryan McCrimmon, Commenter Michael Smith writes on Agricultural Economics. I am hoping to get hime to write more as it is a gap needing more information.

Farmers are a crucial part of Biden’s plan to address climate change, but the economics behind paying them to capture greenhouse gases are complex.

Californians must wear face masks in public under coronavirus order issued by Newsom, Los Angeles Times, Phil Willon, Hannah Fry, Luke Money

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care. This order is coming after growing concerns of increases in coronavirus cases happening after residents failing to voluntarily take precautions.