Kathleen Sebelius Will Let You Die

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

And why not? You, old person, do not fall within the parameters of the rules for saving. Neither do you, small child with degenerative disease. Nor do you, Lance Armstrong with your 10% chance.

Suck. It. Up.

And remember, you’re saving money for the people who are worth saving. From Matt Lewis:

Reading the Associated Press report, one would assume Tiller is the only problem, yet he barely draws a mention in Kyl’s press release on Sebelius. Instead, Kyl (who voted against Sebelius) singled out Sebelus’ views on “comparative effectiveness research”.

In English, that translates roughly as research to determine who is worth health care and who we should just let die. [Emphasis added]

Essentially, when you factor “comparative effectiveness” into medical decisions, it means that those decisions have to be made at least partially based on cost rather than the best interest of the patient.

She should receive no Republican support but she’s got two Senators in her corner. And some wonder why the Republican brand is crap.



Face Reading

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Face Reading
Cool.



“There Is No Such Thing As A Genetic Epidemic”

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Autism: “There Is No Such Thing As A Genetic Epidemic”
Cancer maybe? Genetic switch with an environmental trigger? I think both can be explained that way.



Memory Making

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Glenn Reynolds muses about memory:

My question is, why is there so much room? I was listening to Santana’s Moonflower in the car a while ago, which I’ve barely listened to since college, and not only did I realize that all the licks were stored in my brain, I actually found myself noticing when skips that were present on my original vinyl version didn’t appear in the new one. What a waste of brain cells! And yet, I often have trouble remembering more mundane things, and always have. Seems like the storage part is easier than the retrieval part. (In high-school, we used to joke about Write-Only Memory). This might prove a major handicap if people live longer, requiring some sort of memory training. Or we could do what the Google generation does, and not try to remember anything, since you can just look it up . . . .

It seems like everything gets laid down somewhere, compressed for efficiency, and then retrieved but maybe, like Google, brought up in an unrelated but associated place. The brain has some sort of hierarchy for deciding what is important, but what is it?

And memories are like reliving the actual event, which is a reason why I question the helpfulness of abuse victims going to therapy and talking about the abuse. Are we sure that doing such a thing is helpful?

Experts said the study had all but closed the case: For the brain, remembering is a lot like doing (at least in the short term, as the research says nothing about more distant memories).

On the other hand, reliving a memory can be helpful. My high school basketball coach instructed us to shoot 100 free throws before we went to sleep every night. We were a better than 90% free throw shooting team. I think it worked. (This also prompted basketball dreams, too.)



Violent Genetics

Monday, July 14th, 2008


So, there is a violent gene, but (and this is a big BUT) it can be ameliorated by environment:

MAOA regulates several message-carrying chemicals called neurotransmitters that are important in aggression, emotion and cognition such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

The links were very specific.

The effect of repeating a grade depended on whether a boy had a certain mutation in MAOA called a 2 repeat, they found.

And a certain mutation in DRD2 seemed to set off a young man if he did not have regular meals with his family.

“But if people with the same gene have a parent who has regular meals with them, then the risk is gone,” Guo said.

“Having a family meal is probably a proxy for parental involvement,” he added. “It suggests that parenting is very important.”

Could a criminal claim bad genes? I suppose he could try. (Note that the research wasn’t conducted on women and girls.) Here’s the thing though: Just because you have a gene doesn’t mean that it has to express itself. Since environment can turns these on and off, a criminal will have a tough time claiming no responsibility.

And that sword cuts both ways, and this part concerns me generally: would a judge keep a criminal with a “bad” gene in jail?

This slope is slippery, people. Will insurance companies insure drivers or the health of people carrying the “violent” gene? I’m guessing that the violent guy would be more likely to experience road rage, heart attacks and trauma secondary to violent interactions. Who is going to want to insure that?

And, will parents of embryos with the “violent” gene abort their babies or not implant them?

The time to consider all this is now.