The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, May 07, 2007

Action News!

I'm in a bit of a hurry today, so I'm going to go with the ol' roundup method of covering a handful of stories all at once. But they're good ones, let me tell you.

*Mitt Romney has another sci-fi moment-- maybe he really is the true heir of Reagan's legacy.

In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past."

Actually, I think I know what he's talking about. There's an Orson Scott Card novel in which marriages actually are contracted out for seven years (don't ask how I know). And Romney is a big fan of sci-fi. So maybe that explains it. Except that most people don't, you know, confuse space tales with real life.

The author of the post doesn't point out that Card is a fellow Mormon, and although I enjoyed The Memory of Earth (then the series starts going downhill fast) it's probably time for Romney to start dialing back the references to "alternative religion" authors. The series is, after all, a re-imagining of Biblical themes.

*Health care? Why care?

Federal officials said that the fastest-growing type of Medicare Advantage plan generally does not coordinate care, does not save money for Medicare and has been at the center of marketing abuses. . . .

Moreover, those plans may be more expensive than traditional Medicare for some patients, because the co-payments for some services may be higher. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission says that the cost to the government is also higher because it pays the private fee-for-service plans, on average, 19 percent more than the cost of traditional Medicare.

The Republican party: help us help you pay more for less.

*I knew BushCo hated intelligent people, but.....

Half of the 14 career lawyers hired [at the Dept. of Justice] under Schlozman were members of the conservative Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association, up from none among the eight career hires in the previous two years, according to a review of resumes. The average US News & World Report ranking of the law school attended by new career lawyers plunged from 15 to 65.

I suppose I'll forgo any comment about the GOP and stupidity.

*More trouble with Chinese exports:

Toxic syrup has figured in at least eight mass poisonings around the world in the past two decades. Researchers estimate that thousands have died. In many cases, the precise origin of the poison has never been determined. But records and interviews show that in three of the last four cases it was made in China, a major source of counterfeit drugs.

Panama is the most recent victim. Last year, government officials there unwittingly mixed diethylene glycol into 260,000 bottles of cold medicine - with devastating results. Families have reported 365 deaths from the poison, 100 of which have been confirmed so far. With the onset of the rainy season, investigators are racing to exhume as many potential victims as possible before bodies decompose even more.

Hey, it's one thing if they treat their own workers like slaves, but now they're messing with the good ol' US of A, right? I'll bet American multinationals start demanding reform immediately! Or not....

*More honor and virtue from the White House:

Remember how George W. Bush -- aka, the President Formerly Known as the Decider -- declared himself "the commander guy" earlier this week?

It turns out that he didn't. Although the original White House transcript of Bush's speech before the Associated General Contractors of America had the president describing himself as "the commander guy," a revised transcript now up at the White House Web site makes it clear that Bush said he was only "a commander guy."

He misspoke, he was taken out of context, and he is in no way saying he believes that he's above the law. Except for all that law-breaking, and the signing statements, and dirty elections, and politicizing the DOJ, FDA, etc....

*The MBA president strikes again:

Earlier this year, the U.S. Army awarded one of its favored defense contractors, Raytheon, a $70 million contract to develop a new system to combat rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which have killed nearly 40 Americans in Afghanistan and more than 130 in Iraq. . . .

But an NBC News investigation of the contract selection process reveals that at almost every turn, Raytheon was given a significant competitive advantage over other defense contractors, including an Israeli firm whose system was extensively tested and found to be highly effective.

Man, the Army sure drives a hard bargain under "the commander guy"! Too bad it's the multi-billion dollar equivalent of "sure would be a shame if something happened to your family."