Showing posts from August 1, 2017

Today's Trumpery


Venezuela in Crisis

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[Interesting backgrounder from the Council on Foreign Relations. See the original article for a nice interactive time line. President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to consolidate power amid a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis have drawn widespread international condemnation. *RON*]

Claire Felter & Danielle Renwick, Council on Foreign Relations, 1 August 2017


Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented economic and political crisis marked by severe food and medicine shortages, soaring crime rates, and an increasingly authoritarian executive. Critics of President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, say Venezuela’s economic woes are the fruit of years of economic mismanagement; Maduro’s supporters blame falling oil prices and the country’s “corrupt” business elites.

In 2016, opposition lawmakers took a majority in the legislature—the National Assembly—for the first time in nearly two decades. However, the Maduro gov…

Renegotiating NAFTA: The Role of Global Supply Chains

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[Interesting piece. The development of global supply chains during the period since globalization means that renegotiating NAFTA will be like trying to unscramble eggs. *RON*]
Emily Blanchard, VoxEU / Naked Capitalism, posted on 1 August 2017 by Yves Smith

Yves here. I anticipate a lot of readers will react strongly, as in negatively, to this post, but it’s important that you read it carefully through to the end. Note that the author is not a NAFTA tout; she says clearly that the economic benefits to the US overall were marginal and that it created a lot of losses to US workers. However, she is arguing, as they say in Maine, “You can’t get there from here.” Elimination of NAFTA will not restore status quo ante. NAFTA has created 20 years of supply-chain integration across the US, Canada, and Mexico, and undoing that is about as easy as unscrambling an omelet. While in a different world, a dissolution of NAFTA might benefit workers after an init…

We only have a 5 percent chance of avoiding ‘dangerous’ global warming, a study finds

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["The projected global average temperature change by 2100 is 3.2 C (5.8 F), with a 90 percent chance it will fall within 2.0-4.9 C (3.6-8.8 F)." *RON*]

Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 31 July 2017

In recent years, it has become increasingly common to frame the climate change problem as a kind of countdown — each year we emit more carbon dioxide, narrowing the window for fixing the problem, but not quite closing it yet. After all, something could still change. Emissions could still start to plunge precipitously. Maybe next year.

This outlook has allowed, at least for some, for the preservation of a form of climate optimism in which big changes, someday soon, will still make the difference. Christiana Figureres, the former head of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently joined with a group of climate scientists and policy wonks to state there are three years left to get emissions moving sharply downward. If, t…

People Are Buying Fish Antibiotics Because They Can’t Afford Human Ones

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["Studies have shown it's common for people to keep old prescriptions of antibiotics to use in the future without a diagnosis, or even take their pets' antibiotics." *RON*]

Kaleigh Rogers, Vice Motherboard, 31 July 2017
”My fish got bronchitis the first week of a new job.”

Amazon reviews can be enlightening and entertaining, and sometimes—as author Rachel Sharp revealed on Twitter this weekend—concerning. On Sunday, Sharp tweeted some reviews left on Amazon listings for antibiotics intended for pet fish, and they revealed something disturbing: People are buying these antibiotics to take themselves.

Here's everything you need to know about this bizarre trend:
People Write in Code

In the reviews for products such as Fin Mox and MoxiFish—both billed as fish doses of the antibiotic amoxicillin—consumers write in lightly veiled code how effective the medication was for their "fish:"

Basically every brand of fish antibiotic …

Hundreds attend free dental clinic at Duquesne University

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["Nationally, there are 114 million Americans who don’t have dental insurance he said. Additionally, many people enrolled in the Medicaid program have difficulty seeing a dentist, as do other people with low incomes, or people who live in under-served areas such as rural places." *RON*]

Kate Giammarise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 28 July 2017

Darlene Allen woke up at 4 a.m. today.

She caught a bus from her McKeesport home to arrive at the A.J. Palumbo Center in uptown Pittsburgh by 5:24 a.m.

She wanted to be in line early when registration began at 6 a.m. for the free dental clinic.

Ms. Allen, who is 64, had heard about the event from her church — Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport.

Pain in a tooth has been bothering her for months, and getting worse. It was hard to chew.

"They looked at it, they said it needs to come out," she said Thursday morning, after having an Xray and while waiting to have the tooth pulled.

"I don'…