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Monday, December 17, 2018

Reaping profits from misleading cancer patients

We need to stop them
Related imageCancer kills. Every American knows that.

What every American doesn’t know: Cancer is also helping some Americans become exceedingly rich. And these Americans will do most anything to keep their windfalls coming, even prey on the fragile psyches of the families cancer strikes.

Top cancer treatment centers, the consumer group Truth in Advertising charges in a new report, are “deceptively promoting atypical patient experiences through the use of powerful testimonials.” Back in 2005, U.S. cancer centers spent $54 million showcasing these deceptive testimonials. By 2014, that annual outlay had more than tripled to $173 million.

Image result for deceptive cancer center advertisingOne typical testimonial in this advertising barrage features an effusively grateful patient named Carl, a pancreatic cancer survivor. The ad never mentions that pancreatic cancer five-year survival rates run just 8.5 percent.

“Any cancer center can find a patient who has beat the odds,” notes the new Truth in Advertising report, The Deceptive Marketing of Hope. “But using that atypical experience to play on the hopes and fears of such a susceptible patient population has real consequences.”

Trump pals plot and scheme to profit from veterans

VA Shadow Rulers Had Sway Over Contracting and Budgeting
By Isaac Arnsdorf for ProPublica

Image result for Mar-a-Lago trioNewly released emails about the three Trump associates who secretly steered the Department of Veterans Affairs show how deeply the trio was involved in some of the agency’s most consequential matters, most notably a multibillion-dollar effort to overhaul electronic health records for millions of veterans.

Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, West Palm Beach physician Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman — part of the president’s circle at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida — reviewed a confidential draft of a $10 billion government contract for the electronic-records project, even though they lack any relevant expertise.

In preparing the contract, the agency consulted more than 40 outside experts, such as hospital executives, according to the records, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Mar-a-Lago trio were listed among those experts. Perlmutter, a comic book tycoon, appears on the list between representatives from the University of Washington Medical Center, Intermountain Healthcare and Johns Hopkins University.

But none of the three men has served in the U.S. military or elsewhere in government, and none of them has expertise in health information technology or federal contracting.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Health And Human Services Shuts Down HIV Research

Antiabortion Republicans Force End of Study on Mice Implanted with Human Fetal Tissue

Image result for Antiabortion Republicans Force End of Study on Mice Implanted with Human Fetal TissueThe Trump administration has quietly shuttered a government-run study seeking a cure for HIV because Christian conservatives object to research using human fetal tissue. 

The move comes while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducts an audit on the use of fetal tissue in research as it determines whether to continue funding such research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) ended a seven-year contract with the laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco’s Gladstone Center for AIDS Research. The lab uses “humanized mice,” mice implanted with human fetal tissue provided by women who have undergone legal abortions. 

The move came after 85 Republican House members wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, a related HHS department, objecting to a contract with a California company that is the research community’s only provider of fetal tissue.

There are no scientifically valid alternatives for this kind of research; other cells cannot replace fetal tissue in biomedical research, and mice are one of the few animals that can be infected with HIV.

Pulling the plug on promising gains is an enormous setback for the fight against the disease. The lab was poised to begin an experiment that would have tested an emerging theory on why HIV takes hold in the human body so quickly.

So festive

For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

Final argument

Calm down, go to sleep

Lack of sleep intensifies anger, impairs adaptation to frustrating circumstances
Iowa State University

sleepy chris evans GIF by VideolandLosing just a couple hours of sleep at night makes you angrier, especially in frustrating situations, according to new Iowa State University research. 

While the results may seem intuitive, the study is one of the first to provide evidence that sleep loss causes anger.

Other studies have shown a link between sleep and anger, but questions remained about whether sleep loss was to blame or if anger was responsible for disrupted sleep, said Zlatan Krizan, professor of psychology at Iowa State. 

The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, answers those questions and provides new insight on our ability to adjust to irritating conditions when tired.

Why patients lie to their doctors

Fear of being judged and embarrassed are among the reasons
University of Utah Health

Related imageWhen your doctor asks how often you exercise, do you give her an honest answer? How about when she asks what you've been eating lately? 

If you've ever stretched the truth, you're not alone.

60 to 80 percent of people surveyed have not been forthcoming with their doctors about information that could be relevant to their health, according to a new study. 

Besides fibbing about diet and exercise, more than a third of respondents didn't speak up when they disagreed with their doctor's recommendation. 

Another common scenario was failing to admit they didn't understand their clinician's instructions.

When respondents explained why they weren't transparent, most said that they wanted to avoid being judged, and didn't want to be lectured about how bad certain behaviors were. More than half were simply too embarrassed to tell the truth.

Now it’s “Trump-mail”

Putting the Trump Stamp on the Public

Image result for trump & Postal ServiceD.T. (as aides refer to the present occupant of the Oval Office) is really quite good at one special skill: branding. 

He has slapped his name on a ridiculous range of consumer merch — teddy bears, steaks, made-in-China ties, vodka, underwear and even a urine test. 

His nasty policies and behavior steadily turned the brand toxic, as only two merchandisers have kept his name on their products. 

Still, some two dozen towers, condos, palaces and other glossy real estate edifices blare his name, and 17 global golf meccas proclaim his ostentatious wealth. 

Then, of course, there's his very own post office.

Yes, he bought a 60-year lease on the "Old Post Office Pavilion," an iconic 1899 federal structure that once housed our country's postal service and has also been the home of various other national government agencies. 

Located just five blocks from the White House, D.T. and daughter Ivanka had it converted into a 270-room hotel for the rich in 2016. "The Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.," boasting gold-trimmed bathrooms and a 5,000-square-foot suite in what once was the office of America's postmaster general. 

The suite can be yours for about $25,000 a night (but that's a bargain compared to a bigger presidential suite that The Donald named for himself, charging up to $29,000 for a one-night-stay, plus $4,000 in taxes). 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

VIDEO: when public services go private

Need an example? Just look at South Kingtown's water crisis last month, thanks to privatized water supply.

To watch this video on YouTube:

Trump thinks this is how it works

Progressive comic about the Mueller investigation of Donald Trump

Nothing says "Christmas" like worms

Your best resource for everything vermiculture!

Some gift ideas for the environmentalist on your list...with an emphasis on worms!

     Gift Certificate

5 gal pail of castings

Children's Bin.

       Hungry Bin

Worms to be mailed or picked up.

Castings are still on sale (15% off)--offer is good until December 31,2018.
Visit our Shop Page at 
or call 401-742-5915 
Pickups not available Dec 21-26

Worm Ladies 
Network Membership

Check out the details on the SHOP page of our website.

We will always welcome volunteers and/or interns who are interested in working with raising worms and harvesting castings.  Social media is another area of interest to us.  If you are interested, call Nancy at 401-322-7675 or 401-742-5915.

251 Exeter Road
North Kingstown

We are in the fourth hoophouse on the west side.

161 East Beach Road Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813 
251 Exeter Road North Kingstown, Rhode Island 02852


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Rhode Island suing Google over data breach

Google's parent company hid breech that compromised 52 million users' privacy

Image result for google data breachGeneral Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced the Rhode Island pension fund filed a motion with the court to lead a shareholder class action lawsuit against Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, after it was revealed that Google executives had hidden privacy breaches that compromised the personal information of 52.5 million users.

"Google had an obligation to tell its users and investors that private information wasn't being protected," said Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. "Instead, Google executives decided to hide the breaches from its users and continued to mislead investors and federal regulators. This is an unconscionable violation of public trust by Google, and we are seeking financial restitution on behalf of the Rhode Island pension fund and other investors."

Smart money

Smart car technologies save drivers $6.2 billion on fuel costs each year
Stevens Institute of Technology

Related imageDuring busy traveling holidays of the year, drivers may be focusing on getting to grandma's house, not on what smart car technologies are saving them in fuel costs. 

But in the first study to assess the energy impact of smart technology in cars, researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have put a number on the potential fuel-cost savings alone: $6.2 billion.

"That's not insignificant," said Yeganeh Hayeri, an assistant professor at Stevens whose work lies at the intersection of civil and environmental engineering and public policy. 

Brown doc talks about why MD’s want gun control

Perspective on firearm safety and #ThisIsOurLane

Related imageNews of mass shootings has become devastatingly common in the United States, and at the same time the rate of suicide-by-firearm is silently increasing. The need to treat gun violence as a public health crisis has never been more urgent, many experts argue. 

In that context, Dr. Megan Ranney — an emergency physician who is also an associate professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and School of Public Health — wrote an editorial with two co-authors that examines the explosive spread of the Twitter hashtag, #ThisIsOurLane, born after a November tweet from the National Rifle Association. 

The three authors were among thousands of health care professionals across the country who assert that firearm injury prevention is, in fact, their lane.

The editorial was published on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Friday, December 14, 2018

The radical right's hateful roots

America’s dark history of organized anti-Semitism returns in today’s far-right groups

Hours after Robert Bowers allegedly walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 people, investigators told the media that Bowers appeared to have acted alone and fit what experts call the “lone mass shooter profile.”

Weeks later, FBI agents arrested a Washington D.C. man who followed Bowers on social media. He had told relatives he wanted to pursue the same path and start “a race revolution.”

Bowers may well have lived a solitary life, beyond his frequent presence on social media. Yet the fact that his violent act triggered a would-be emulator highlights an essential facet of prejudice – especially anti-Semitism.

As I show in my book, “Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States,” anti-Semitic violence is never solely the product of a single deluded mind, as the United States’ dark history of organized prejudice reveals. Instead, it is the product of a unique culture of hatred that originated in the mid-20th century and persists to this day.

This aspect of history is rarely found in textbooks. Yet it is critical to understand the continuing influence that homegrown, modern American anti-Semitism has had on the country’s history and continues to exert today.