A lot of good and assorted News topics to be read. I did not include any about the upcoming election. I did include one on polling. The same as 2020, I believe the polling results are tainted. We are not getting a clear picture from polling or news reporting. That is just one of 30-something articles and links here this week. Heavy on healthcare. and the Economy, otherwise an eclectic mix of assorted news topics.
“Only the GOP Celebrates Political Violence,” The Atlantic, David Frum. “I have a message for Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke. If you want to take everyone’s AR-15 in America, why don’t you swing by my office in Washington, D.C., and start with this one.” At this point, Buck reached for a stars-and-stripes-decorated rifle mounted on the wall. He brandished the weapon, smiled what he must have imagined was a tough-guy smile, and said, “Come and take it.”
The Dark Heart of the Republican Party,” The Atlantic, Tom Nichols. January 6 was not an outlier. Laughing over a hammer attack on an old man, the GOP has completed its transition from a political party to a brutal mob.
“Gun buybacks: Findings from decades of research,” (journalistsresource.org), Clark Merrefield. Voluntary gun buyback program allows gun owners to trade their firearms to government entities. usually law enforcement. A trade for vouchers redeemable for cash or other items of value, such as tickets to professional sporting events. Guns can usually be exchanged “no questions asked.”
“Solidarity with Railroad Workers Tickets,” Tue, Nov 1, 2022 at 8:00 PM, Eventbrite. Despite enormous political pressure, railroad workers are fed up, evidenced by the sections of workers who are voting NO on a Tentative Agreement that they feel doesn’t address the base safety and quality of life issues they are willing to strike over.
“How much are polls misrepresenting Americans?” Niskanen Center. The big findings was that as many people have known, pre-election polls in 2020 had a large amount of polling error in 30 years. All right? And at the same time, there’s been more polling being done now than ever before.
“Opinion | Frustrated With Polling? Pollsters Are, Too,” The New York Times, Quoctrung Bui. What’s really troubling pollsters going into this election is that it’s unclear how much more error these problems will add during this cycle. In fact, many think it’s unknowable. (freebie)
Law and Education
“America’s Falling Test Scores and the Power of Parental Anxiety,” The New Yorker, Jay Caspian Kang. The news coincided with another ongoing saga in American education: this coming Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the future of affirmative action. A decision on two cases—one against Harvard and another against the University of North Carolina, both brought by the conservative legal advocacy organization Students for Fair Admissions—is expected sometime this term.
“Education After Affirmative Action,” The New Yorker, Jeannie Suk Gersen. Justice Samuel Alito offended many people by comparing the Court’s overruling of Roe v. Wade to Brown’s overruling of Plessy. (He continued to offend people. In a new book by John A. Farrell, during Alito’s confirmation hearings, he had privately told Senator Ted Kennedy, in reference to Roe, “I am a believer in precedents.”)
“Skeptical Supreme Court Asks: Do Race-Conscious Admissions Have an Endpoint?” The 74 (the74million.org), Linda Jacobson. The conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court seemed skeptical of whether universities should be able to continue the practice of considering race in admissions, and in arguments Monday, several justices openly questioned whether racial diversity offered any educational benefit.
“Photos: Drought Conditions Drop the Mississippi River to Historic Lows,” The Atlantic, Alan Taylor. Months of dry conditions in the Ohio River Valley and along the upper Mississippi basin have dropped the lower Mississippi River to levels approaching record lows.
“Lead Poisoning Is Decimating America’s Eagles,” The Atlantic, Christine Peterson. There, tests revealed that the bird had 130 micrograms per deciliter of lead in its blood. Even tiny amounts of lead may be harmful to eagles. Levels above 60 micrograms per deciliter are considered clinical poisoning.
“Recycling Is Beyond Fixing, So Let’s Get Over It,” (treehugger.com), Lloyd Alter. The key finding of the report? As we noted recently, “U.S. households generated an estimated 51 million tons of plastic waste in 2021. Two-point-four million tons were recycled. The report notes 5% to 6% of plastics were recycled in 2021. This down from a high of 9.5% in 2014.”
“Plastic recycling remains a ‘myth’: Greenpeace study,” (france24.com), Brendan Smialowski. “Circular Claims Fall Flat Again,” the study found that of 51 million tons of plastic waste generated by US households in 2021, only 2.4 million tons were recycled, or around five percent. After peaking in 2014 at 10 percent, the trend has been decreasing, especially since China stopped accepting the West’s plastic waste in 2018.
“Saudis Sought Oil Production Cut So Deep It Surprised Even Russia,” (theintercept.com), Ken Klippenstein. Oil cartel OPEC+’s announcement earlier this month that it was cutting 2 million barrels of oil per day — a move that would drive up the price of oil just a month before midterm elections — rankled Democrats in Washington.
“America is running out of diesel fuel. Here’s why it matters to consumers,” (consumeraffairs.com), Mark Huffman. Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that supplies of distillates – which include jet fuel and heating oil, as well as diesel fuel – are at their lowest levels since 2008, (25-day supply).
“Biden threatens windfall tax on oil and gas companies’ record profits,” (qz.com), Ananya Bhattacharya. He called on oil and gas companies to direct their record profits towards increasing production and reducing costs for Americans in an address at the White House yesterday (Oct. 31). The fossil fuel companies haven’t yet announced plans to do either.
“GDP Shows Healthy Growth in Third Quarter, Driven by a Shrinking Trade Deficit,” (cepr.net), Dean Baker. The economy grew 2.6 percent in the third quarter, a sharp turnaround from two quarters of negative growth in the first half of the year. A shrinking trade deficit was the biggest factor, adding 2.77 percentage points to the quarter’s growth.
“Do you really need $1.2 million to retire?” (consumeraffairs.com). Mark Huffman. Yet despite a lofty goal, a study found Americans are actually saving less for retirement. Americans’ average retirement savings has dropped 11% – from $98,800 last year to $86,869 now.
“US mortgage rates soared past 7%,” (qz.com), Ananya Bhattacharya. Since April 2002, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) topped 7% this week, according to data from Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).
“Boise-based Albertsons shareholder dividend leaves company vulnerable, union leaders concerned,” Boise State Public Radio. Troy Oppie. The announced acquisition of Boise-based Albertsons by the Kroger Company still has to pass muster with federal regulators. Albertsons is already facing pushback on a special dividend equal to about one-third of the company’s total value besides other dividends to stockholders.
“US third-quarter GDP growth obscures a slowdown in the economy,” (qz.com), Clarisa Diaz. After shrinking for two consecutive quarters, the economy grew more than expected by economists, who had predicted a 2.3% jump. But key sectors, like consumer spending, are contracting. Most of the growth in the quarter came from an increase in exports.
“Tax and Monopoly Focus: Reframing Tax Policy to Reset the Rules of the Monopoly Game,” Roosevelt Institute, Niko Lusiani. Current international tax rules and the presence of tax havens work to boost after tax profits for globally-integrated large firms. Smaller domestic competitors who cannot engage in the same sort of regulatory arbitrage are at a structural disadvantage.
“Framework Update: Strong Enough Income Growth To Justify Hikes, But Slowing Enough For The Fed To Plan Off-Ramps,” (employamerica.org), Skanda Amarnath. Friday’s Q3 ECI release showed a modest slowdown in the pace of wage growth. Labor screwed supply chain!
“The Opioid Crisis Is Still a National Threat,” MedPage Today, David Nash. Health Services Administration survey estimates that 9.5 million Americans age 12 and over misused opioids in 2020, down from 10.1 million the previous year. While this is encouraging, the survey data also show a disturbing increase in heroin use.
“How States Are Holding Payers and Providers Accountable For Health Cost Growth,” Health Affairs, Debra J. Lipson, Sarah Berk, Keanan Lane. Rachel Block. In 2012, Massachusetts became the first state to enact a health care cost-growth benchmark, which set a target for annual rates of increase for all health spending, including by private insurers, tied to growth in the state’s economy.
“Georgia at Its Lowest Rate of Uninsured Children in History,” (managedhealthcareexecutive.com). Georgia’s state policies have led to one of the highest uninsurance rates in their neighboring states, with an estimated 176,000 children not covered by insurance. Federal protections have been critical to keeping Georgia children and families enrolled during the pandemic.
“Medicaid expansion in South Dakota, Georgia and Texas midterms,” NPR, Laura Benshoff. Expanding health coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Americans is a driving issue in some statewide campaigns this election. South Dakota is one of 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid coverage after the Affordable Care Act increased how many low-income Americans could qualify. Next month, voters will decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to do that.
“Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living? (2022),” ConsumerAffairs, Taylor Sansano. Medicare does not cover any of the nonmedical costs of assisted living.
“‘Pill Mill’ Docs, You May Be in for a Big Scare,” MedPage Today, Aron Solomon. Last week, the Supreme Court remanded a case involving a “pill mill” (opioids) doctor to a lower court for further consideration. In a move that could impact previous precedent-setting decisions on prescribing liability.
“Effect of Ivermectin vs Placebo on Time to Sustained Recovery in Outpatients With Mild to Moderate COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, JN Learning, AMA Ed Hub (ama-assn.org). These findings do not support the use of ivermectin in outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19.
“The 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels,” The Lancet, Authors. As these crises (war and Covid) unfold, climate change escalates unabated. Its worsening impacts are increasingly affecting the foundations of human health and wellbeing, exacerbating the vulnerability of the world’s populations to concurrent health threats.
“Association of Hospital Participation in Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced With Medicare Spending and Hospital Incentive Payments | Health Care Reform,” JAMA | JAMA Network, Sukruth A. Shashikumar, Baris Gulseren, Nicholas L. Berlin. Among US hospitals measured between 2013 and 2019, participation in BPCI-A was significantly associated with an increase in net CMS spending. Bonuses accrued disproportionately to hospitals providing care for marginalized communities. Good Read.
Best of the Substacks
“YOU LOVE TO SEE IT: Amazon’s Anti-Union Campaign Backfires,” levernews.com, Ricardo Gomez. Good things are happening! Amazon’s CEO got knocked for his anti-union media messages.
“Utah Senate race: the patriot vs. the seditionist,” (substack.com), Steve Schmidt. It is an astounding, and yet somehow entirely predictable path for Lee — the Alito clerk, turned senator, turned conspiracy wacko, turned insurrectionist. Lee lacks the character to control his impulses.
“November 1, 2022,” Letters from an American, Prof. Heather Cox Richardson, (substack.com). Biden has begun to criticize their economic plans more directly, especially in the last few weeks. Today the White House released a fact sheet laying out exactly what it would look like to have the Republicans’ economic plans put into effect.
Other Links to Articles
“What News Was in My In-Box,” Angry Bear, Angry Bear, October 26, 2022
“What News Was in My In-Box,” Angry Bear, October 19, 2022.
Infidel753: Link round-up, 30 October 2022. Infidel753 Blog.
“Silent Saturday ….”Homeless on the High Desert, Ten Bears, October 29, 2022.