Vaccination and choice

An outbreak of measles that started in Disneyland is being blamed on parents who do not believe in vaccinating their children.  These folks, who come from both sides of the political spectrum, fear a link–first raised by scientists but then retracted– between vaccination and autism, or they believe vaccination is unnatural like genetic engineering, or they don’t believe the government should mandate their children’s medical treatment, etc. [Read more...]

Marijuana without the high

Lots of people have been hailing the medical uses of marijuana, leading a number of states to legalize the drug if you have a prescription.  Now Israeli researchers (Israel being the world’s leader in research into medical marijuana) has developed a strain that gives the medical benefits without that unfortunate side effect of the “high.”

Do you think this product will catch on in medical marijuana circles?  I say, NO, are you kidding?  Except, perhaps, as a medicine for children that doctors might prescribe, I’m pretty sure that the high is what users find so thereapeutic. [Read more...]

Obamacare employer mandate goes into effect

Now that it’s 2015, the next phase of Obamacare kicks in:  Employers of more than 100 people must give them insurance benefits.   This provision of the Affordable Care Act had been delayed by executive decree, but now it goes into effect.

Most employers in this range already provide health insurance to their employees, though the law does change things for the companies.  For example, those who work as many as 30 hours must now get insurance, even though they are not full time.

This time next year, the mandate will apply to smaller businesses those of 50 or more workers.  Businesses that hire fewer than 50 are not covered in the law and will not have to insure their employees. [Read more...]

The Obamacare confession

When I heard about the Obama operative who said that the passage of Obamacare was helped by Americans’ “stupidity,” I assumed it was just a gaffe, with which Republicans could play “gotcha.”  But it turns out, the comment was in the context of a frank explanation in front of a friendly liberal audience at MIT about how the administration got Obamacare through Congress.

And the operative’s other comments are even more damaging to the bill.  A second video supports the opponents’ of the law’s case before the Supreme Court by indicating that the language restricting subsidies to state exchanges was intentional. [Read more...]

Panic

Americans are panicking over Ebola, and authorities are concerned not just to stem the disease but to stem the panic.  They are saying the chances of any of us actually dying of Ebola is microscopically low, that we are more likely to die of a shark attack, bee stings, or falling out of bed.  Alexandra Petri says that if that’s true, we need to panic over those other things too! [Read more...]

Ebola self-destruction?

Parasites that kill their hosts are basically committing suicide.  More successful parasites keep their hosts alive.  Tapeworms, for example, can hunker down in someone’s intestines and grow to obscene lengths before the host even notices.  The most successful parasites, such as the microorganisms that live in our stomachs, actually benefit their hosts, making infestation a win-win situation.

Liberia has been horribly stricken by Ebola, but, all of a sudden, the number of cases is plummeting.  This, even though the American troops and other foreign help haven’t got started yet. [Read more...]


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