Thursday, May 6, 2010

Evidence Based Medicine – Addendum 1

Another hellish work week. My head meats are generally scrambled due to overworked synapses, and I’ve not had time or free neurons to expand much on this topic. I did want to post something, though, to keep the thoughts as current as possible and to perhaps continue the conversation. I hope to address SckGrl’s comments in short order as well, but I make no promises. The topic of health care is so vast and varied that – sweet Jebus in a jumped up Jaguar – I couldn’t hope to get all my thoughts together in one or two or a thousand blog posts, even given limitless time and energy to do so. Despite that, it’s important to keep talking about it, and picking away at the details.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Gimme a freakin' break...

Sarah Palin has apparently thrown her support behind Tom Emmer, one of the Republican gubernatorial candidates in Minnesota.  From the supportee:
"It's a significant endorsement," Emmer said. "Sarah Palin is the gold standard of grass roots politics in this country."
Errmm...  Gold standard?  Spare me.  This from the guy who has lately praised Arizona's recently enacted "immigration reform" law (read, racial profiling law).  Sigh...  These people make me tired.

Work takes over...

It's been a mad, mad week at work, and it's generally sucked away all my hours.  I've had lots to say, but no time to say it!  Happily, the week's end is nigh, so I'll (hopefully) be getting caught up in the next couple of days.  Cheers, and happy Friday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Evidence-Based Health Care

Crommunist posted a thoughtful piece last week in which he considers who should be in charge of an individual’s health care – the individual, or the physician. This got me thinking about the subject of evidence-based medicine. Crommunist examines the specific topic of a new and relatively untested method of treating multiple sclerosis; I will take a general tack, and add just a few additional thoughts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fear and Loathing, just generally…

Found a great article this morning by Dahlia Lithwick off my Slate feed. In a nutshell, two entities – the Christian Legal Society (a student group at U.C. Hastings) and U.C. Hastings are currently before the SCOTUS arguing respectively for the right to free association, and the right to deny funds and other benefits to a student organization the university feels is discriminatory.

What I find most interesting about the case is not the wrangling of the heavy and difficult constitutional questions found in the arguments (those are, though, very interesting in and of themselves - plus, there's just so much subtext in this case...). No, what’s of primary interest to me, I think, is the idea that the two parties butting heads here couldn’t come together on this issue without consulting the high courts. Lithwick writes:
It's clear from today's argument that exposure to radically different viewpoints doesn't always result in greater mutual understanding. Watching the court work today, it seems maybe forced exposure to people unlike us promotes even more fear and resentment.
To me, this sounds precisely like the larger problems we’re facing at the moment. We’re in the process of dividing ourselves into ideological groups. We can see the other groups; we hear what their saying, but we only become more incensed with the opposing message. Ultimately, the fear and anger generated by this standoff would seem to preclude any hope of coming to a compromise. And that’s when things really get frightening…

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reason Wins!

A smart ruling came down yesterday from a federal judge in Wisconsin that finds the National Day of Prayer (or, wishful thinking as I like to call it...) unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.

"In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray," Crabb wrote.
I’ve no doubt that this will be overturned on appeal, but it’s very gratifying to have another ruling like this on the books. Hope remains…
Oopsy.  PZ beat me to the punch.  Of course.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More dangerous numbskullery from the vatican...

The pope's Underboss made a disturbing statement yesterday, apparently in an effort to deflect criticism with regard to the recent surge in abuse allegations aimed at the vatican. Says he:
"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia," he told a news conference in Santiago.
Blame homosexuals.  That's just lovely.  Ignorant, stupid, and criminal.
"This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms," he said. "The behavior of the priests in this case, the negative behavior, is very serious, is scandalous."
Yeah, no kidding, it's serious.  And please provide those percentages.

It's not a hard task to condemn the catholic church when they so willingly condemn themselves.  I think the question that should be asked is why the church attracts criminals?  The obvious answer is that the church harbors and protects them.  Hell, it's a criminal organization from the top down.