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May 11th, 2021|

Pay attention to what Tom Friedman says in his NYT opinion piece, “The Trump G.O.P.’s Plot Against Liz Cheney — and Our Democracy.” An excerpt:

“In effect, the Trump G.O.P. has declared that winning the next elections for the House, Senate and presidency is so crucial — and Trump’s ability to energize its base so irreplaceable — that it justifies both accepting his Big Lie about the 2020 election and leveraging that lie to impose new voter-suppression laws and changes in the rules of who can certify elections in order to lock in minority rule for Republicans if need be. It is hard to accept that this is happening in today’s America, but it is.”

And be very afraid.

April 23rd, 2021|

Gina Kolata has an interesting story in the Times – Imagine, Surgery Without a Scar.  The researchers, in an article published in the April 23 Science, found that inhibiting Engrailed-1 activation in fibroblasts remarkably inhibits scarring after wounding in mice.  If similar results are found in humans, this would be a great boon for many patients.

From the paper:

Wounds in adult mammals typically heal by forming fibrotic scars. Mascharak et al. found that a specific population of skin fibroblasts (Engrailed-1 lineage–negative fibroblasts) activate expression of Engrailed-1 and turn on profibrotic cellular programs in response to local tissue mechanics in wounds (see the Perspective by Konieczny and Naik). When mechanical signaling was inhibited in these cells (using either genetic deletion or small-molecule inhibition), skin wounds in mice no longer formed scars but instead healed by regeneration, restoring skin with normal hair follicles and glands, extracellular matrix, and mechanical strength.

Recommended:

Bill Gates does a good job of explaining how mutations lead to viral variants, and what it means for Covid-19 vaccines in this post to his GatesNotes, “5 things you should know about variants“.

On a positive note, from a letter in the NEJM, with accompanying data, demonstrating the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination of health care workers in California.

• David Leonhardt and Yaryna Serkez do an excellent job of laying out how much better economic gains have been historically under Democratic administrations, writing “Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?” in the NY Times.  Some excepts:

“Since 1933, the economy has grown at an annual average rate of 4.6 percent under Democratic presidents and 2.4 percent under Republicans, according to a Times analysis. In more concrete terms: The average income of Americans would be more than double its current level if the economy had somehow grown at the Democratic rate for all of the past nine decades.”

and:

Annual Growth Rate Under Different Presidents

We should not forget these 6 senators, who on January 6, 2010 chose to act in their own self interest rather than in the interest of the country by continuing to support the lie that there was some serious voting irregularity in the November 2020 elections; this despite evidence of the harm they are causing that could not have been plainer.

Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

And a special negative shout out goes to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and minority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who cynically encouraged Republican house members to oppose certification of the election with no basis in law or fact (138 went on to do so), this vote after the insurrectionists’ occupation of the Capitol.