Supreme Court Hears ‘Pay To Delay’ Pharmaceutical Case
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case worth billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies and American consumers. The issue is whether brand-name drug manufacturers may pay generic drug manufacturers to keep their cheaper products off the market.
from Politics http://n.pr/1017JMx
The Slow Death of the Driver’s License
It’s pretty common knowledge by now that teenagers don’t drive cars nearly as much as they did back when I was growing up. Partly that’s because getting a license is more onerous, partly it’s because parents are more willing to be chauffeurs, and partly it’s because social media has made it more attractive to spend time at home.
But I was a little surprised to read in the LA Times this morning that this has already had a significant downstream effect. Even among 30-year-olds, the number of people with driver’s licenses is down from 96 percent to 89 percent. That’s a surprisingly large drop. I suppose part of this could be explained by the increasing population of large metro areas with decent transit, but I’m not sure that fits the facts. The population of rural areas has shrunk over the past few decades, but I think most of the corresponding population growth has been in small cities and suburbs, which are tough to get around in without a car.
So….I’m not sure what’s going on. Zipcar and similar services are nowhere near big enough to explain it. I suppose Google has the answers somewhere, but it’s Saturday and I don’t feel like spending the time to find out. I’m going to go toss some frisbees around instead.
from Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones http://bit.ly/15akOVo
Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Misleading statistics and big money for tea party groups
At the Zion hospital, about 14 percent of patients were covered by Medicare and 4 percent by Medicaid in 2011, according to data the hospital submitted to Illinois health authorities. Over the previous 10 years, the Medicaid percentage was often in the single digits. Reuters was not able to obtain data from CTCA’s other hospitals.This shining example of American medicine was founded by Richard Stephenson, who continues to be its chairman. Stephenson made news last fall when he helped force former House Majority Leader Dick Armey out of the tea party group FreedomWorks with the promise of $400,000 a year for 20 years. Stephenson also secretly funneled millions more to FreedomWorks through two corporations set up by a Tennessee lawyer, seemingly for the purposes of making those donations.
In the database CTCA compares itself to, called SEER and run by the National Cancer Institute, 53 percent of patients were diagnosed at the Medicare-eligible age of 65 or older, and 14 percent are below the poverty level, an indication of those covered by Medicaid or uninsured. […]
CTCA also appears to exclude the vast majority of its patients when it calculates survival data. In survival results from 2004 to 2008 posted on its website, CTCA reported 61 patients with advanced prostate cancer, 97 with advanced breast cancer, 434 with advanced lung cancer, and 165 with advanced colon or rectal cancer. These are the four most common solid tumors. In the same period, CTCA treated thousands of patients at its Zion facility alone, according to filings with state regulators.
That’s what Cancer Treatment Centers of America delivers: If you’re rich and healthy enough to get in, you’re getting falsely hopeful information about the results CTCA offers. And the profits from your treatment are likely to be going to the likes of FreedomWorks.
from Daily Kos http://bit.ly/14HExLO
Why you should pick your own boss
Ty Clark asked me for advice on job seeking: The best advice I’ve ever heard about picking a job is to pick your boss first, not the job.
This is challenging since the system of finding jobs is designed the other way: it’s set up to let bosses pick you. Job ads don’t have a field listing a “Boss Suckiness Index (BSI)” or “what % of her reports love or hate her.” At best you talk to your possible boss during an interview, and interviews are mostly BS. Yet by focusing on who your boss will be above most other criteria changes both how you pursue jobs and how happy you’ll be once you pick one.
The simple reasons why your boss matters more than you realize are:
- A good boss in a mediocre company will protect you and support you on a daily basis.
- A bad boss in a good company will frustrate and demoralize you on a daily basis.
In the first case, you will learn more and possibly have more opportunities than in the latter. A good boss will recognize your talents and develop them. A bad boss may never recognize what you can do at all, or take advantage of you more than help you.
Most people looking for jobs focus on other criteria such as:
- Salary.This is important, but beyond your minimum needs it can be a trap. There are many people with $250k salaries who hate their jobs and, as a consequence, their lives. They work with coworkers who were also primarily attracted to salary. If you are thinking long term, or want a high growth career, salary can’t be your primary criteria. Salary is the laziest measure of the quality of a job and therefore the weakest.
What you will work on. Many people are attracted to specific projects or roles. I did this for years until I learned hot projects didn’t necessarily make for happy/productive work environments. While I learned much, my career suffered. I watched plenty of people thinking longer term who stayed with good managers rather than chasing cool projects, and they rose in seniority in the company as their managers did.
- What your job title will be. Even if you have to work as an intern, if you are talented and work hard a good boss will recognize your ability and move you into a position worthy of your skills. Even if they don’t have another job opening for you, a good boss will have a healthy network and can help place you somewhere that does, with a good manager they know who works there. Chasing the best job title you can get at the expense of who you’ll be working for is a trap: they may never let you leave that job title, no matter how much you outgrow it.
Picking bosses demands having a strong network. You need to cultivate friendships with people in your field where you can share notes on the bosses you’ve worked for. It takes time and research to put it together, but knowing who in your field the good managers are and seeking them out is the best asset you can have for a long and healthy career. If you have one or two companies in mind, investigate who the best bosses are in your job function so you know the landscape, and if the opportunity presents itself, which way to lean if an opportunity arises.
The less experience you have, the harder it is to pick your own boss when you’re hired. That’s ok. Instead ask about how much internal mobility there is: do people move between teams and groups easily? If yes, once hired your goal should be to figure out what things you need to set in motion to give you that choice and to study who is the best boss there for you.
from Scott Berkun http://bit.ly/120WEzK
Potty Training Regression
An NPN reader asks our natural parenting mentors:
My 2 1/2 year old has been potty trained and successfully using her little potty for almost seven months. In the past two weeks she has refused to use it and has reverted back to hiding and using her panties to both pee and poo. We try to remind her to use the potty, but it has to be her idea, not ours. She does better in public or when we go somewhere. She will even tell us, but at home it’s like she’s protesting it. How should I react (or not react) to this? Advice from my mother-in-law was to firmly tell her, “no, do not pee in your panties,” but that’s not working and neither is ignoring it. I would appreciate any advice, thoughts, and help anyone might have. Thank you!
Here’s what our natural parenting mentors had to say:
Jennifer: I feel your pain! I think a lot of children go through this, especially those who potty-learned in the first half of their second year.
I experienced this with my daughter. It was the exact same situation as you are in. She had been happily using her potty for months and then all of the sudden she not only refused to use it but would pee on the carpet in her room. She would also only poop outside. She had no trouble using the restroom away from home. It was baffling and frustrating, to be sure.
What I ultimately decided to do was to give my daughter the choice to go back to wearing her cloth diapers or to wear underwear and use the potty consistently. She choose diapers which lasted about a week. After that, she announced she was grown up and done with diapers.
I did not make the choice a big deal. I let her know that I understood that right now, using the potty was difficult for her to do consistently but that I was not enjoying all of the extra work of doing laundry. I explained that the more laundry I had to do, the less time I had to spend with her. More clean up meant less time to play with her.
I let her know that if she had a concern about the toilet itself, I really needed her to let me know so we could find a solution. I also made sure that she knew that I loved her and would respect and support her decision. I then dropped the subject and let her lead the way.
Two and a half is a transitional age. Children are asserting their independence. They want to be in charge of their lives. They are pushing again babyhood but struggling to grow into that “preschool” age. Potty regression can by a side effect of all these developmental challenges. It is one of the three things that they can truly control (food and sleep being the other two).
As frustrating as it is, continue to remain gentle and supportive and follow your daughter’s lead. If she does continue to soil her underwear, get her involved in the clean-up process! When my daughter started throwing family cloth in the toilet, I had her fish it out. That solved that issue. Often times young children really do not understand the effect their actions have on others until they are gently held responsible for their actions.
Having said all of this, it certainly is possible that your daughter is going through something in her life that is bringing about the change in potty behavior. Has seen be subject to any recent trauma? Has she been uprooted? Is all peaceful on the home front? Is there a rhythm and predictability to her day? Have you been busier than usual? It is important to look at both major and minor changes to see if it is possible that something has triggered this behavior. Children act out in a wide variety of ways and potty regression certainly tops that list.
I would like to suggest one resource that might help you gain some additional perspective. The No Cry Potty Training Solution is probably the only book I would ever recommend to anyone facing a potty learning setback. The author devotes a whole chapter to addressing setbacks and I personally think she provides some really insightful material. She is gentle, flexible, and really spot on in her assessments.
Good luck to you!
Erica: I have experienced a similar situation with my son. He seemed to be potty trained, but then he just stopped using the potty for his bowel movements, preferring to find a corner and go in his underwear. We were baffled and confused. I am embarrassed to say that I turned to bribery in an attempt to get him back to using the potty. Well, that didn’t work and as you stated in your letter, it needs to be their idea. Sometimes it is helpful just to know you are not alone in this struggle. Many parents have been where you are. Would you believe that Elizabeth Pantley says that over 80% of all parents have toilet training setbacks?
Regression is normal and can happen for many reasons. Often regression is associated with developmental leaps. Maybe your child will take a break from focusing on potty training to develop some new language abilities or take a growth spurt. She may then happily return to using the potty.
In other cases, regression may be associated with some resistance to the act of using the bathroom. With my son, I could associate the exact day he stopped pooping in the potty. We were on vacation and he pooped in the potty at the hotel. After flushing the toilet it started to overflow and ran all over the floor. I didn’t think it was traumatic at the moment, but looking back this had a negative influence on his willingness to use the toilet. This must have frightened him or startled him in some way to where he did not feel comfortable using the potty for pooping anymore. This was also the time my husband changed jobs, resulting in a different work schedule. This didn’t help matters, as it seems that any change in the child’s routine or schedule may trigger a change in using the potty.
There are a few simple things you can do to make this transition time easier on everyone. Gently offer several opportunities throughout the day to use the toilet. When accidents happen, we encourage our son to take part in the process of the clean up. He needs to pick out his clean underwear and help flush the toilet. It is also helpful to be prepared. We make sure we have extra pairs of clean underwear and a change of clothing with us when we travel in case of any accidents.
Patience and understanding can go a long way. Dealing with regression can be a very frustrating time for parent and child. It is helpful to be as flexible and relaxed as possible. Have you ever noticed that when we start pushing, they start resisting? Perhaps it’s best to look at this as part of the process. This is an excellent opportunity to trust your child and enjoy the parenting journey.
Melissa: Congratulations on helping your daughter learn to use the toilet! Potty learning is a process which has natural ups and downs. It is very normal for a child to master toileting for a period of time – often long enough for parents to feel comfortable that the process is “finished” – and then to regress. Sometimes this is correlated with a big change in a child’s life, such as the birth of a sibling or moving to a new house. Other times, it is not. Often some type of regression happens just before or after a new developmental milestone is reached or a new molar pops through. It is also common that at around 2 1/2 to 3 years of age, previously independently toileting children will start to become very engrossed in their play, which sometimes results in accidents.
It is important to remain as calm as possible each time your child chooses not to use the toilet for her elimination needs. The same principles which applied when you were initially teaching her to use the toilet also apply when she regresses: read stories about using the toilet, demonstrate how to do it, talk about it in positive ways, and when she has an accident, remind her gently where pee and poop goes. There is in fact no way you can control where she chooses to eliminate, and being overly stern is generally ineffective because of this. It may encourage a power struggle, which is counterproductive. Patience is key, as is consistent, positive talk about independent toileting. Try to offer choices with regards to toileting, such as offering the choice between a toddler toilet or the big toilet, or if you live in an area and climate where this might be appropriate, give her the option to go outside if she likes. Try to be patient! It is frustrating to feel setbacks, but toilet learning is a journey!
Here are some additional tips for toilet learning in the traditional (non-elimination communication) way:
- Read stories about using the toilet which speak about it in positive terms.
- Have your child spend some part of each day with no bottoms on.
- Read stories to your child as s/he sits on the toilet.
- Shop for cool underwear together, and once your child is ready (is aware of his or her elimination and knows where it should happen), put daytime diapers away and use underwear. Switching back and forth is confusing, although sometimes if a power struggle develops it is better to go back to diapers for a week or so and give toilet learning a break. Generally, however, it is more effective for toilet learning overall if you stick to underwear and simply carry an extra change of clothes for your child, as well as a wet bag for clothes that get soiled.
- Encourage lots of drinking, to increase the frequency of elimination along with awareness.
- Celebrate any elimination, at first, to establish a positive attitude towards elimination; even if pee is on the floor, point out its appearance to increase awareness of it, and speak about it positively.
- Calmly clean up accidents and talk about where pee and poo belongs.
- Encourage trying to go on the potty after meals, upon waking from naps, and first thing in the morning.
- Demonstrate toileting. If you are comfortable doing so, allow your child to watch yourself, your spouse, or their siblings use the toilet, and talk about what is happening. Every family has varying levels of modesty, but demonstration of elimination is very effective with toddlers who learn so well from modeled behavior.
- Little boys sometimes respond well to being encouraged to try and hit Cheerios which are dropped in the toilet.
- Celebrate success! Phone Grandma to share the news, clap, and do a ‘potty dance’. Hooray!
- Be patient with regressions. These are a normal part of toddler learning!
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from Natural Parents Network http://bit.ly/13evyRu
The Simple Dollar’s Education in Insurance
Up until now, I’ve only occasionally dealt with a major component of monthly finance: your insurance. If you’ve got a family, like me, you have to know how your insurance works. For that matter, if you’re financially stable or you’ve got valuable property, grasping your coverage is just as necessary.
When something unexpected happens, insurance is the one precaution that really makes a difference. You can’t be casual about such a responsibility
And while you can understand exactly what you’re protected against, actually managing your premiums can be a whole other story. As anyone in charge of the bills can tell you, juggling multiple premiums every month gets pricy fast. Things will only get worse if you don’t know how to compare plans and deductibles, to identify loopholes, or even how to dispute a claim.
When something unexpected happens, insurance is the one precaution that really makes a difference. You can’t be casual about such a responsibility.
While I would never claim to be an insurance expert, my wife and I insist on regularly reviewing our coverage and monthly premiums. If you don’t know what your policy actually protects you against (and why you want that protection), you need to make a point of getting the facts straight. When you blindly pay for extensive coverage and add-ons the insurer tells you are “necessary” or “highly recommended,” you are wasting money.
In my case, as family circumstances changed over the years, we’ve made sure coverage stays in step with our lifestyle and our property. And looking back on these experiences, I know I have more I’d like to share. You can go back to my September entry on buying term life or my recent list of life insurance lessons to get an idea of what I mean.
When you blindly pay for extensive coverage and add-ons the insurer tells you are “necessary” or “highly recommended,” you are wasting money.
Along with my own take, I’ve recruited insurance insiders to contribute to a new, separate section of the site. They’ve each put together a sort of “Insurance 101” guide for four areas of insurance: home, health, car, and life. Each writer is objective and highly qualified. People who actually have something worthwhile to contribute. Each guide goes into great detail on the basic terms, the right questions to ask when insurance shopping, and tips on how to avoid needless expenses and cons.
Look for a post from me that explores the new pages, including an introduction to the insiders and their guides, as well as my own takeaways on managing the trickier aspects of insurance.
from The Simple Dollar http://bit.ly/UD0wTZ
Sarah, Sarah, No Time is a Good Time for Goodbyes
Since 13 year old wunderkind Jonathon Krohn is now a few years older and has ditched conservatism like it was an ebola soaked tissue and voted for Obama in 2012, CPAC has to find someone to replace his intellectual heft:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will speak at next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“We are pleased to again welcome Governor Sarah Palin to CPAC in March,” American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Al Cardenas said in a statement. “Governor Palin electrified the crowd in 2012 and we are thrilled to welcome her back this year.”
Awesome. Anyone want to guess what topics and talking points she will cover? I bet Benghazi figures prominently.
from Balloon Juice http://bit.ly/VCY8yy
Burger King’s Twitter account Hamburgled, announces sale to McDonald’s
In a move that will excite McRib lovers the world over, the official Burger King Twitter account announced this morning that the company had been sold to McDonald’s as a result of persistent drug-use by Burger King employees.
Fortunately for lovers of its flame-broiled Whoppers, no such sale has occurred. The blue-ticked account has been hacked by parties unknown. The hackers are giving regular shouts out to “DFNCTSC,” the Defonic Team Screen Name Club, a group of eight to 12 hackers that briefly found fame in 2005 after hacking Paris Hilton’s Sidekick and posting her contacts online.
When asked if DFNCTSC was responsible for the hack, however, the account replied “nope #lulzsec foo[l],” resurrecting the name of the Anonymous-affiliated group that made a big splash in 2011. It later emerged that LulzSec’s leader, Hector “Sabu” Monsegur, was working for the FBI in secret.
from Ars Technica http://ars.to/YixyVm
Yale Helps DoD Train Soldiers By Interrogating Non-Whites
This is the kind of thing that would have been a reason to shut down the campus, back in the old days. Now? I’d be surprised if the majority of students gave it more than a yawn. But at least the student newpaper reporters are paying attention — as they should:
The Department of Defense and Yale University have partnered up to train U.S. soldiers in the art of interrogation techniques with the local immigrant community acting as test subjects, reports the Yale Daily News.
As early as this April, Yale plans to welcome a training center for interrogators to its campus.The center’s primary goal would be to coach U.S. Special Forces on interviewing tactics designed to detect lies.
Charles Morgan III, a professor of psychiatry who will head the project, calls these tactics “people skills.” These techniques would be honed using New Haven’s immigrant community as subjects. Morgan hopes that by having soldiers practice their newly acquired techniques on “someone they can’t necessarily identify with” (read: someone who is not white), they’ll be better prepared to do ‘the real thing’ abroad.
The authors of the article, Nathalie Batraville and Alex Law, provide many reasons for why this training center is a terrible idea, one of which includes a lack of transparency. Apparently, students didn’t learn about the new program until now, just two months before the center opens. As Batraville and Law point out:
There was no conversation with the city about how this might impact its immigrant community. There was no conversation with students and faculty about how it might impact campus culture. And there was no conversation at all about the ethics of a project like this. It’s hard to understand where this project came from; the university’s motivations are wholly opaque.
They also argue that Yale could be indirectly involving itself in immoral practices by training soldiers whose skills could be used to, for example, determine whose name is added to President Obama’s kill list.
Most importantly, the authors offer some insight into the racist aspect of this program:
Morgan’s research and, by extension, this proposed center target people of color — brown people exclusively. According to a Yale Herald article, Morgan listed “Moroccans, Columbians, Nepalese, Ecuadorians and others.” Is there an assumption in Morgan’s desire to use more ‘authentic,’ brown interviewees as test subjects, that brown people lie differently from whites — and even more insidiously, that all brown people must belong to the same “category” of liar?
How might training on lie detection be perceived if it targeted blacks, or if it aimed to answer the question, “How do Jews lie?” That Morgan’s test subjects are compensated does not resolve the ethical questions his project raises. In fact, their participation highlights the structural inequality that this research capitalizes on and that the center would ultimately exploit.
As Nathalie was working on this piece, her phone rang. At the other end of the line was her 7-year-old nephew Rocco, who wanted to wish her a happy Valentine’s Day and send her many loud kisses. He now lives in Montreal, where Nathalie is from, but until about a year ago, he lived in Haiti.The U.S.’ involvement in Haiti, from its occupation between 1915 and 1934 to its support — financial, logistical (and “moral”) — of François and later Jean-Claude Duvalier’s brutal dictatorships in the 60s and 70s, informs much of her outrage surrounding the establishment of this center, and her understanding that people often lie to protect their lives, their families, their country and the very freedom that Americans so dearly cherish.
Well said! But even without the the sickening immigrants-as-test-subjects aspect, the training center is still unsettling because it further solidifies the unholy alliance between physicians and the US war machine given that a professor of psychiatry is running the project. This should come as no surprise since we mostly ignored revelations that psychologists and medical doctors helped run the torture program at Guantanamo Bay (look forward, not backward!)
from Crooks and Liars http://bit.ly/W6VzPI
Half of states leave health insurance exchanges to the federal government
The deadline for states to commit to creating their own health insurance exchanges under Obamacare was Friday, with half the states ultimately refusing to do so, leaving the federal government with that job. That includes some of the country’s most populous states.
New Jersey, Ohio and Florida, several of the biggest states that had not declared their intentions, officially said no late in the week.Setting up a system for 25 states puts a strain on the federal government that wasn’t really planned for in the development of the law. It means a massive ramp-up to Oct. 1, one that has to deal with all the varying existing state regulations and create a mega-exchange. More significantly, it’s a massive technological challenge. Because it will essentially be a huge database behind the online interface the public will use, all of the disparate state database systems will have to be reconciled. It’s all about who’s eligible and at what subsidy level, including Medicaid eligibility. So the large exchange will have to merge tax files, immigration status, Medicaid rolls, and more from the varying states. By not participating, these mostly Republican governors are attempting to throw the ultimate monkey wrench into the mix, still hoping to kill the law.
“I have determined that federal operation of the Exchange is the responsible choice for our state,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, wrote in letter Friday to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
For consumers, it should make little difference whether the new Internet sites are run from state capitals or Washington, D.C. But federal regulators hoped states would shoulder some of the work and stakeholder groups such as hospitals and insurers wanted states to help as well. The exchanges will open for business Oct. 1. […]
Twenty-five states, most Republican-led, have said they will let the federal government run the marketplaces, also known as exchanges. And seven governors from Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and South Dakota have sought approval for the third option—a partnership with the federal government. Three of those—Arkansas, Delaware and Illinois—have already received conditional approval. A report by the Charleston, W. Va., Gazette said West Virginia also decided late Friday to opt for a partnership with the federal government.
On the other hand, there tremendous opportunity, if the feds can make this work by Oct. 1. A robust, national health insurance marketplace could ultimately be cheaper and more efficient. It could be the model that shows a national health care system works, taking us one step closer to a public national health care system.
from Daily Kos http://bit.ly/Y4sDJO