Sotomayor on the latest bad SC decisions

Kudos to Justice Sotomayor for her comments on the Supreme Court’s egregiously bad ruling on presidential immunity:

“Orders the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune,” she wrote. “Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

This court is claiming way too much power for itself between this decision and their other horrible decision on the Chevron case.

2024-07-07T10:57:02-05:00July 2nd, 2024|Home, Musings|

On Dr. Fauci

I stand with Tony Fauci (and Dr. Ashish Jha):

Also see Katelyn Jetelina’s excellent Your Local Epidemiologist blog post on the same topic; an excerpt:

“Public health leaders stepped up during a time of great uncertainty using systems too old to succeed while losing, at its peak, 3,500 people a day. They had to make incredibly difficult decisions, often with incomplete information, many of which were valid decisions based on the data at the time. Yes, they made mistakes, but their service was heroic and patriotic, too. We can live with these two truths.”

2024-06-12T16:01:20-05:00June 7th, 2024|Home, Musings|

Tattoos may be linked to an increased risk of lymphoma

These findings need to be validated, but they are interesting.  From a Medscape UK summary:

“In the first large study of its kind, tattoos were found to raise the risk for malignant lymphoma by about 20% compared with no tattoos. Tattoo ink often contains carcinogens and, when applied to the skin, triggers an immunologic response.

METHODOLOGY:
This study was a population-based case-control study of all incident cases of malignant lymphoma in Swedish adults (aged 20-60 years) in the Swedish National Cancer Register between 2007 and 2017 (n = 11,905). Tattoo exposure was assessed by a structured questionnaire in both cases and three random age- and sex-matched controls without lymphoma. The primary outcome was the incidence rate ratio of malignant lymphoma in tattooed vs nontattooed individuals.
TAKEAWAY:
The prevalence of tattoos was 21% among cases and 18% among controls. After adjustment for confounders, tattooed participants had a 21% higher risk for overall lymphoma than non-tattooed participants (incidence rate ratio = 1.21; 95% CI, 0.99-1.48).

And a link to the original paper, Tattoos as a risk factor for malignant lymphoma: a population-based case–control study, by Nielsen, Jerkeman, and Jöud. 

I guess I’m happy to be ink-free…

2024-05-31T17:08:03-05:00May 31st, 2024|Home, Musings|

Wallace-Wells AI in Warfare

David Wallace-Wells once again writes an important piece in the NYT illustrating some of the current uses of AI in warfare.  An excerpt:

“The more abstract questions raised by the prospect of A.I. warfare are unsettling on the matters of not just machine error but also ultimate responsibility: Who is accountable for an attack or a campaign conducted with little or no human input or oversight? But while one nightmare about military A.I. is that it is given control of decision making, another is that it helps armies become simply more efficient about the decisions being made already. And as Abraham describes it, Lavender is not wreaking havoc in Gaza on its own misfiring accord. Instead it is being used to weigh likely military value against collateral damage in very particular ways — less like a black box oracle of military judgment or a black hole of moral responsibility and more like the revealed design of the war aims of the Israel Defense Forces.”

2024-04-11T16:34:21-05:00April 11th, 2024|Home, Musings|

Covid Vaccine Benefits (for those getting immunized, that is)

More good work from Dave Leonhardt and Ashley Wu in March 11th’s NYT’s The Morning:

“To this day, more than 30 percent of self-identified Republicans have not received a Covid vaccine shot, compared with less than 10 percent of Democrats…

While many liberals exaggerated the value of pandemic restrictions, they were right about the vaccines. After vaccines became available, a huge partisan gap in Covid deaths opened. Even today, when most Americans have had the virus and have some natural immunity as a result, unvaccinated people are at much more risk. Consider that about 95 percent of recent Covid-related hospitalizations in the U.S. have occurred among people who had not received an updated vaccine.”

2024-03-11T14:38:13-05:00March 11th, 2024|Home, Musings|

Not really a democracy…

From Heather Cox Richardson’s March 4, 2024 Letters from an American:

“Two days ago, in Slate, legal analyst Mark Joseph Stern noted that when Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was Senate majority leader, he “realized you don’t need to win elections to enact Republican policy. You don’t need to change hearts and minds. You don’t need to push ballot initiatives or win over the views of the people. All you have to do is stack the courts. You only need 51 votes in the Senate to stack the courts with far-right partisan activists…[a]nd they will enact Republican policies under the guise of judicial review, policies that could never pass through the democratic process. And those policies will be bulletproof, because they will be called ‘law.’”

2024-03-05T15:08:34-05:00March 5th, 2024|Home, Musings|

Ladapo, Wrong Again

Perhaps a study should be undertaken of the number of Floridian lives lost due to its Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo’s ill-informed advice re. mRNA Covid vaccines.  Katelyn Jetelina , Edward Nirenberg, and Kristen Pagnathi offer an excellent rebuttal in Jetelina’s Your Local Epidemiologist Substack post here.  Perhaps the most trenchant argument offered was this one:

“Producing vaccines requires us to use cells, and cells contain DNA. This is why DNA fragments are found in all vaccines. DNA fragments aren’t limited to vaccines, either. Insulin, for example, also contains small amounts of DNA from the bacteria used to make it. 

Regardless, we try to limit the number because it can impact the immune response. We aim for the purest form of vaccines so they work as intended and consistently. The FDA requires less than 10 ng/dose of residual DNA fragments in any vaccine for full approval. 

Multiple regulators across the globe have consistently found vaccines to have acceptable levels of DNA fragments. Even the flawed preprint confirms Covid-19 vaccines’ DNA content is far below any levels indicating a safety or manufacturing concern (see below).”

As for the referenced preprint’s attempt to correlate the DNA levels found with VAERS morbidity stats, that’s junk science exemplified.

2024-01-05T09:37:56-05:00January 5th, 2024|Home, Musings|
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