❝ Newly unsealed documents in a landmark civil case in Cleveland provide clues to one of the most enduring mysteries of the opioid epidemic: How were drug companies able to weaken the federal government’s most powerful enforcement weapon at the height of the crisis?
The industry enlisted members of Congress to limit the powers of the Drug Enforcement Administration. It devised “tactics” to push back against the agency. And it commissioned a “Crisis Playbook” to burnish its image and blame the federal government for not doing enough to stop the epidemic.
❝ The Post has twice investigated the industry’s battles with the DEA, first in 2016 and again in 2017 with “60 Minutes.” But the full story has never been told because so few of the people involved will talk about it. The list of people who have declined to be interviewed includes former congressman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), who first proposed the bill; former acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg, whose agency surrendered to the pressure; former attorney general Loretta E. Lynch, whose department did not stand in the way of the legislation; and, finally, then-President Barack Obama, who signed it into law.
What? Did you expect our gallant elected officials to stand up for freedom, civil liberties and The American Way? RTFA and reflect upon the phony inability of Congress or the White House to get anything done. I’d suggest you start with throwing 80/90% of officeholders out the damn door!
BIG BROTHER is watching
❝ President Trump’s poll numbers are so bad the Republican National Committee is hiding them from local candidates, leaving them in the dark in key must-win races.
In an extensive report on how the party has turned into the cult of Trump, ProPublica reports that critical “voter scores” — sophisticated analytics based on polling that are distributed to party committees and candidates — have disappeared since Trump’s election. The lack of data leaves Republican candidates in the dark about how their districts feel about Trump…
❝ Former RNC chairman Michael Steele, a longtime Trump critic, told ProPublica that the Republican Party is hurting its own candidates to protect Trump from embarrassment.
“There’s a lot of data they’re sitting on that they’re not sharing,” Steele said, adding that under Trump, “the RNC is not an independent actor; the RNC is now a part of the Trump campaign. The question now isn’t, ‘What do you need?’ The question is, ‘Do you support Donald Trump?’”
Michael Steele continues to get in trouble with Trumpublicans for telling the truth. A habit Republicans loyal to their fearless leader seem to have given up altogether.
❝ Cast your mind back four years, and gravitational waves were the talk of the town. On September 14, 2015, the first detection of these ripples in space-time was made by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration, revealed months later to deserved global fanfare. Now with the fourth anniversary of that discovery approaching, the field has matured dramatically with dozens of subsequent detections made—and the prospect of even more thrilling discoveries on the horizon…
❝ Including that first discovery, a total of 23 confirmed gravitational-wave detections have been made to date across three observing runs. Within those, 20 have been black hole mergers, two have been neutron star mergers, and one is the suspected first known instance of a merger between a black hole and a neutron star. Each has been exciting in its own right, but the sheer volume of detections—moving from one a month to nearly one a week, thanks to upgrades to LIGO in 2018 and 2019 that improved its sensitivity—is hugely impressive…Thanks to that explosive growth, remarkable progress is being made across multiple subdisciplines of astrophysics.
RTFA. Learn a bit more about another window opening in our view of the universe we live in.
❝ Dr. John E. Parker was working at a West Virginia hospital in 2015 when a 31-year-old female patient was admitted with acute respiratory problems. A team of doctors ultimately suspected that her mysterious case of lipoid pneumonia might be related to vaping and weren’t sure they had seen anything like it before. They were intrigued enough to present the case report — a type of medical paper on unusual or provocative patient findings. Such reports can serve as a call to the medical community to be on the lookout, though they sometimes raise more questions than they provide answers.
❝ This summer, almost four years later, federal officials began investigating a national outbreak of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping that has struck more than 150 patients in 16 states…
❝ We really felt that it wasn’t going to be a one-off event and that it was what we usually called in public health a “sentinel” health event … that it was an example of a respiratory illness that can be caused by this exposure and that it probably wasn’t the first case ever seen nor would it be the last…
❝ I know we’ve seen a case [of alveolar hemorrhage syndrome] that we published, and in polling some colleagues we think we’ve probably also seen [cases of] cryptogenic organizing pneumonia as well as lipoid pneumonia and acute eosinophilic pneumonia. Yeah, we’ve certainly seen at least probably four forms of lung disease from vaping.
Interesting chronology of medical researchers discovering ailments from recreational, addictive foolishness. The medical community will continue to sort out deaths and impairment — while politicians and the government bodies chartered to preserve health sit around, twiddle their thumbs and do nothing for years.
❝ Engineers in the Bay Area. Advertising managers in Chicago. Freight specialists in Arizona. The job listings keep piling up at Amazon, a company that is growing in many directions amid one of the tightest labor markets in memory.
On Monday, Amazon said it had 30,000 open positions in the United States, including full- and part-time jobs at headquarters offices, technology hubs and warehouses…
❝ …Last fall, Amazon raised the minimum wage at its warehouses to $15 an hour, and this past summer, it said it would spend $700 million to retrain about a third of its American workers to perform tasks that required advanced skills. The effort included a major push to improve the technical expertise of corporate and tech-focused employees, such as turning entry-level coders into data scientists.
We live in a nation where most of our politicians don’t consider education as critical as infrastructure…and the last time the latter was brought up-to-date the president was a retired general named Eisenhower.
❝ Castleton Tower is one of many culturally significant desert rock formations that Jeff Moore, a geologist, and his team at the Geohazards research group at the University of Utah have been monitoring with audio recordings. Like a doctor listening to the beating of a human heart, they hope to learn about the structural health of these arches, bridges and towers and how their environments affect them…
❝ …Castleton Tower taps into the earth’s natural vibrations, finding that it pulsates at about the rate of a human heartbeat.
Way cool. Makes you want to lean up against this critter and listen…even if all you get to hear is the wind.