50,000 reports of malfunctioning heart device hidden by the FDA


Congressional Quarterly

❝ The Food and Drug Administration allowed the maker of a faulty implantable heart device to secretly log 50,000 malfunction incidents, according to a series of investigations by Kaiser Health News.

The device—the Sprint Fidelis, made by Medtronic—consists of a pair of wires and a defibrillator to jolt the heart into a regular rhythm. But doctors found that it was giving patients random, harmful zaps and sometimes failed during actual cardiac emergencies.

❝ Medtronic recalled the device in 2007 but only after it was implanted in around 268,000 patients. Many of those patients have since faced the ghastly choice of learning to live with the faulty device or undergoing an invasive, risky—sometimes deadly—surgery to remove it. According to the KHN investigation, they’ve been making that choice without information from the 50,000 incident reports.

The FDA accumulated over a million reports they “exempted” from reporting requirements which would have aided patients and doctors…and opened the manufacturers of faulty gear to lawsuits. What’s the likelihood of our 2-party government doing something as radical as that, eh?

Driverless trucks start test runs on Southwestern Interstate highways

❝ The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday started a two-week test transporting mail across three Southwestern states using self-driving trucks, a step forward in the effort to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology for hauling freight.

San Diego-based startup TuSimple said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas to see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs. A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat.

❝ If successful, it would mark an achievement for the autonomous driving industry and a possible solution to the driver shortage and regulatory constraints faced by freight haulers across the country.

The plan is to have these trucks on the road 22 hours at a time. Not exactly something human drivers are up for. Since long-haul runs are literally short thousands of drivers, timing couldn’t be better. If everything works OK? 🙂

Last time corporations paid taxes this low the president was Eisenhower

❝ While polls suggest that most Americans feel they’re not benefiting from the recent overhaul of the nation’s tax laws, U.S. corporations have more to crow about: New IRS data show American companies are paying their smallest share of federal income tax revenue in nearly 60 years.

❝ Businesses contributed 7.6% of the $3.5 trillion in total tax revenue collected for fiscal-year 2018, the tax agency said in a report — that’s a two percentage point decline from the previous year. After refunds, that figure falls to 6.8%. By contrast, individuals are shouldering a larger share of the country’s tax burden, accounting for 57% of revenue last year compared with 54% in 2017. Most of the rest of the country’s tax revenue stems from employment taxes.

❝ The IRS data doesn’t provide company-level data on taxes, but the overall trend highlights the declining share of corporate taxes across the decades. In 1960, corporations provided about one-quarter of all tax revenue, based on IRS data. At that time, individuals contributed less than half of total tax revenue.

I think we should be an equal opportunity country when it comes to the relative value of taxes forked over for the maintenance and advancement of this nation. Meaning – obviously – it’s time for people tgo come before profits instead of the other way round.

Massive NatGas leak followed NO inspections


Leak caused by microbial corrosionEarthworks/Flickr

❝ A massive natural gas leak at a storage facility in Southern California was caused by microbial corrosion of well equipment, according to a new independent report from analysis firm Blade Energy Partners. The report blames the storage facility owner, Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) for failing to conduct follow-up inspections of equipment, despite knowing about 60 smaller leaks at the facility that had occurred since the 1970s…

❝ The indirect cause of the leak, according to Blade, was a failure on the part of SoCal Gas to conduct detailed inspections of the well equipment. “Blade identified more than 60 casing leaks at Aliso Canyon before the October 2015 incident going back to the 1970s, but no failure investigations were conducted by SoCalGas,” the CPUC wrote. The company also failed to do any risk assessment focused on well failure.

Hey, just another corporate partner in the vast “Who, me?” network of do-nothing that might slow profits.