In Defense of Democracy

• This open letter appearing in both The Bulwark and the New Republic, from both Democratic and Republican writers, academics, and activists, people from both sides and the middle of the political spectrum, is must reading.  Some excerpts:

“But right now we agree on a fundamental point: We need to join together to defend liberal democracy.

Because liberal democracy itself is in serious danger. Liberal democracy depends on free and fair elections, respect for the rights of others, the rule of law, a commitment to truth and tolerance in our public discourse. All of these are now in serious danger….

And we urge all responsible citizens who care about democracy—public officials, journalists, educators, activists, ordinary citizens—to make the defense of democracy an urgent priority now.”

We can’t let the people who want to make the US an unrepresentative, undemocratic autocracy, oligarchy (or whatever other applicable pejorative but accurate adjective) win.

2021-10-28T16:14:38-05:00October 28th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Remembering Steve

• A nice video tribute to Steve Jobs posted by Apple: Celebrating Steve.  It includes some heartfelt words from his family, including this wonderful paragraph:

One of our greatest sources of consolation has been our association
of Steve with beauty. The sight of something beautiful — a wooded hillside,
a well‑made object — recalls his spirit to us. Even in his years of suffering,
he never lost his faith in the beauty of existence.

2021-10-28T16:13:40-05:00October 5th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

US Drug Manufacturing Is a Mess

• Farah Stockman, writing in her NYT opinion piece “How Much Can You Trust That Generic Drug You’re Taking?” takes a hard look at how our national drug manufacturing capability has dramatically eroded, and how dependent we now are on offshore manufacturers with sometimes dubious quality controls.  This is an important topic, and definitely worth a read.  An excerpt that should concern you:

“A recent study based on data from Clarivate, an analytics firm cited in the White House report, was even more alarming. It found that, of the top 100 generic medicines that Americans consume, 83 had no U.S. source of active pharmaceutical ingredients. No American source existed for 97 percent of the most commonly prescribed antivirals and 92 percent of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics.”

2021-09-19T08:57:14-05:00September 19th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Linda Greenhouse expounds on the incursion of religion into Supreme Court opinions

• I always find anything done by Linda Greenhouse, who writes in the NYT on the Supreme Court and the law, worthwhile reading.  Her latest opinion piece, “God Has No Place in Supreme Court Opinions“, is especially worth reading (unsurprisingly, it reflects my own sentiments on the matter). An excerpt:

“Religion is American society’s last taboo. We can talk about sexual identity, gender nonconformity, all manner of topics once considered too intimate for open discussion. But we have yet to find deft and effective ways to question the role of religion in a public official’s political or judicial agenda without opening ourselves to accusations of being anti-religious.”

2021-09-14T08:31:19-05:00September 11th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Ezra Klein speaks wisely on the Afganistan withdrawal

• Just an excellent column by Ezra Klein, writing on the perils of our collective national hubris in his NYT column “Let’s Not Pretend That the Way We Withdrew From Afghanistan Was the Problem“; an excerpt:

“It is callous to suggest that the only suffering we bear responsibility for is the suffering inflicted by our withdrawal. Our wars and drone strikes and tactical raids and the resulting geopolitical chaos directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis.

This is the deep lacuna in America’s foreign policy conversation: The American foreign policy establishment obsesses over the harms caused by our absence or withdrawal. But there’s no similar culpability for the harms we commit or that our presence creates. We are much quicker to blame ourselves for what we don’t do than what we do.”

Food for thought.

2021-08-26T10:16:42-05:00August 26th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Our byzantine hospital health care payment system

• The NYT has a good discussion (with examples) of the byzantine intricacies of US hospital billing practices.  Hospital data seems deliberately obscured by interested parties (typically both hospitals and insurers).  The money being made by third parties is often spent lobbying to prevent health care reform, especially any form of the feared universal single party health insurance. Read “Hospitals and Insurers Didn’t Want You to See These Prices.  Here’s Why.” by Sarah Kliff and Josh Katz.

2021-08-22T13:22:02-05:00August 22nd, 2021|HomeRecommended|

The Quiet Rage of the Responsible

• Paul Krugman has it right in his NYT opinion piece “The Quiet Rage of the Responsible.”  An excerpt:

“So how do you feel about anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers? I’m angry about their antics, even though I’m able to work from home and don’t have school-age children. And I suspect that many Americans share that anger.

The question is whether this entirely justified anger — call it the rage of the responsible — will have a political impact, whether leaders will stand up for the interests of Americans who are trying to do the right thing but whose lives are being disrupted and endangered by those who aren’t.”

2021-08-20T14:08:23-05:00August 20th, 2021|HomeRecommended|
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