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Wednesday: An Inauspicious Start

Just thinking about this triggers spasms

Wouldn’t you know, I inflamed a back muscle while rooting through my car for that damn CV folder and have been somewhat incapacitated for the last 48 hours.  This is so weird.  I used to have no respect for people who constantly claim that back problems prevent them from working.  Now, I are one.  {{Sigh}}  A couple more doses of aspirin (the real wonder drug), some soft stretching and more nukeable heat bean bags should do the trick.  If anyone else has suggestions, please send them in.  I have to visit an outplacement service asap and I’d like to be able to aggressively pursue and new job without gritting my teeth.

Onto some newsy items:

Paul Krugman has been on a tear in the past week panning Paul Ryan’s ridiculous and stupid budget plan, not that it will prevent Obama and Co. from embracing parts of it anyway.  Krugman’s good stuff is in Conscience of a Liberal.  I hate to say it but Krugman is starting to hit the high notes in shrillness.  His takedowns of Ryan’s plans are pretty straightforward and clear but they lack that crucial endorsement feature that make them so attractive to “serious” people.  I know the feeling, Paul.  People haven’t been taking us seriously since 2008 even though we had Obama’s number  and knew how his weak presidency was going to work out from the very beginning.

I was just watching a program on the Nuremburg trials (because now that my back is out and I am on a enforced vacation, I can catch up with my All Hitler, All The Time) and there was one comment from an investigator that struck me as signifcant that we continue to ignore at our peril: the henchmen we ordinary guys who had no connection to the reality they had power over and they were very good Yes Men.  You find their types among the GOP, the Obama administration and access bloggers.  They experience a different reality than the rest of us.  I’m just surprised that Krugman is surprised at the rise of Donald Trump’s popularity.  Birtherism is pretty nuts, IMHO, but I understand what’s going on in the minds of the people who are attracted to The Donald.  Those are the very same people who were written off by the Democratic Party in 2008, the year they thought they had a chance of recapturing the White House from the Republicans.  These people are angry at the deal that both parties has handed to them.  The country is ripe for a third party and the person who appeals to the disenfranchised is going to see that huge voting bloc as the political opportunity of a lifetime.  I would have preferred someone other than Trump and a more rational message than birtherism but there ya go, Paul.  Really, you need to get out more.  Hillary Clinton could be a contenda…

Yesterday, Krugman proposed a health care solution for Medicare that I’ve endorsed for a long time that would be good for any American without health insurance.  That is, adopt a military or VA style health care system as an alternative public option.  As a Navy brat, I heartily endorse this idea.  The care my family, especially my asthmatic sister, got through the dispensary and military hospital system when we were kids was pretty good.  It was sort of a one stop shop.  Tests, doctor’s visits, shots, and prescriptions were all done at the dispensary.  We did the generic thing at both the dispensary and the commisary.  Of course, I think I grew up a little bit different than most people in that my parents didn’t usually take me to the doctor unless a.) we were scheduled for immunizations or b.) we were genuinely sick.  We also didn’t care much that the appearance of the place was, well, strictly military.  If you’re used to posh, the minimalism can come as a bit of a shock.  I know a lot of people who think that because they have insurance, they must maximize its use.  It sort of reminds me of people who go on cruises and then pack their plates at the buffet with enough food to gag a small African village for 3 days.  If you’re one of those people, shame on you.  You don’t have to get an antibiotic for every sniffle.  For one thing, antibiotics only work on bacterial infections and for another thing…

Bacterial resistance to current antibiotics is on the rise.  What you may not know about bacteria is they pass genes around between them on little rings of DNA called plasmids in much the same way teenagers pass mono around while swapping spit.  Some of these new gene combinations have resulted in multi-drug resistance to just about every antibiotic the pharma world can throw at them.

“IncP-1 plasmids are very potent ‘vehicles’ for transporting antibiotic resistance genes between bacterial species. Therefore, it does not matter much in what environment, in what part of the world, or in what bacterial species antibiotic resistance arises. Resistance genes could relatively easily be transported from the original environment to bacteria that infect humans, through IncP-1 plasmids, or other plasmids with similar properties, as ‘vehicles’,” says Professor Malte Hermansson of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg.

Personally, I’d be more worried about this than the radiation threat from Fukushima to California.  Now, the WHO is getting alarmed that we’ve run out of options and new antibiotics are not coming to market.  Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with how many pharmaceutical workers who know how to make new drugs are presently laid off with nothing much to do?  Oh, well. Probably nothing to get all worked up about, right?  (We Lefties might want to ease up on the class action lawsuits for a spell until the bugs are under control again.  Just saying.)