We’re number one, we’re number one!


Yearly overdose deaths top 100,000 for first time

Drug overdose deaths in the United States surpassed 100,000 in a 12-month period for the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, a troubling milestone amid an already devastating period for the country…

Vermont saw the biggest rise, with a nearly 70 percent increase. Large increases were also observed in West Virginia (62 percent), Kentucky (55 percent), Louisiana (52 percent) and Tennessee (50 percent). Drug overdose deaths went down in just four states: Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota. South Dakota had a nearly 20 percent decrease in overdose deaths, the greatest by far.

Deaths due to opioids — mostly synthetic opioids, including fentanyl — accounted for more than 75 percent of the deaths. Deaths due to psychostimulants, predominantly methamphetamine, also increased. Cocaine accounted for slightly more deaths in 2021 than the year before, and heroin deaths decreased.

Overdose deaths are often the result of multiple drugs, Bob Anderson (NCHS) said. “They are killing people in combination, fentanyl combined with another drug such as methamphetamine or cocaine.”

Just how much of a role the stress and isolation of the pandemic played in the rising overdose deaths remains to be seen.

While the two are certainly linked, the pandemic shouldn’t be a scapegoat for an epidemic that was a major concern long before Covid, said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, medical director of opioid policy research…at Brandeis University.

“Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition such that the stress or the social isolation and the inability to access support groups could have resulted in relapses in people with opioid addiction, and Covid could have made it harder for people with opioid addiction to access treatment, as well…”

“But for the past few years, opioid overdose deaths in the United States have skyrocketed. We’ve been in the midst of a severe crisis that’s getting worse and getting worse fast,” Kolodny said.

I’ve focused on similar articles, similar conclusions, off and on for decades. There is no shortage of crap excuses for addiction and concurrent overdose deaths. Every federal government for decades has one or another stash of copout excuses for not accomplishing any bloody thing.

I’d love to see something new tried. I don’t care if it’s a copycat of something that works in another country, some lone state…if there is one. Let’s get off our collective butts and do it!

The old “blame the horse” ploy

Horse and trap driver John Mulvenna told police his horse Fred went through a red light because he was colour blind. But John Mulvenna’s explanation did not fool officers and he ended up in court for being drunk in charge of a horse and carriage…

Mulvenna, who was represented at Barnsley Magistrates Court by solicitor John Dobbin, was arrested in the town centre on his way home.

The horse and trap had earlier been seen going the wrong way up a one-way street.

Prosecutor Jayne Ormrod said Mulvenna had been drinking and the horse was rearing up. The driver used a whip to bring the animal under control and Fred seemed distressed.

Mrs Ormrod said: “The defendant was struggling to control the horse and trap. he was shouting and had slurred speech. “His eyes were red and watery and he smelt of drink. He was also staggering around.

“When asked why the horse and carriage had gone through the traffic lights he said the horse was colour blind.”

The incident lasted ten or 15 minutes. Mulvenna told officers he was “merry” but not drunk.

I worry more about the horse than the drunk. They should take away his whip.

Software design leaves trains unable to operate in snow and ice


Steam locomotive, number 45212, built in 1934

Rail companies have admitted that a fault in the the computer software on their modern electric trains leaves them unable to operate in snowy and icy conditions.

When the temperature plummets and the snows start to fall which do you turn to – a traditional steam train or its multi-million pound modern replacement?

Yesterday the steam locomotive, No: 45212, built in 1934, barrelled through the North Yorkshire countryside between Grosmont and Pickering, while hundreds of services on the country’s modern electric network fell victim to the weather.

Some train operating companies last night admitted that the computer software on their modern electric trains was not able to cope with the snowy and icy conditions…

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that a safety feature found in some modern computerised trains causes them to shut down in freezing conditions.

Network Rail has admitted that the software contributed to the chaos which left thousands stranded in freezing conditions last week.

Experts said the problem affects a number of trains, including the Bombardier Electrostar, which operates on the “third rail” electric railway lines common in the south east.

The Electrostar, which comprises the bulk of southern and Southeastern’s rolling stock, includes a safety system which can shut down the train when there is ice on the third rail to protect the train against surges.

Last week, hundreds of commuters had to sleep on trains overnight as drivers made several attempts to reboot the trains’ systems…

Roger Ford, the technology editor of Modern Railways magazine, said: “Some people will find it a little ironic that over the past week older trains seem to have coped better with the extreme conditions.

“The fact that older trains are less clever and complicated than these modern sophisticated trains has definitely worked in their favour as it makes them less sensitive.”

Garbage in = garbage out.

Global warming pushes 2010 temperatures


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Global temperatures in the first half of the year were the hottest since records began more than a century ago, according to two of the world’s leading climate research centres.

Scientists have also released what they described as the “best evidence yet” of rising long-term temperatures. The report is the first to collate 11 different indicators – from air and sea temperatures to melting ice – each one based on between three and seven data sets, dating back to between 1850 and the 1970s…

Publishing the newly collated data in London, Peter Stott, the head of climate modelling at the UK Met Office, said despite variations between individual years, the evidence was unequivocal: “When you follow those decade-to-decade trends then you see clearly and unmistakably signs of a warming world”.

“That’s a very remarkable result, that all those data sets agree,” he added. “It’s the clearest evidence in one place from a range of different indices.”

Currently 1998 is the hottest year on record. Two combined land and sea surface temperature records from Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the US National Climatic Data Centre (NCDC) both calculate that the first six months of 2010 were the hottest on record. According to GISS, four of the six months also individually showed record highs…

The Met Office said the variations between the figures published by the different organisations are because the Met Office uses only temperature observations, NASA makes estimates for gaps in recorded data such as the polar regions, and the NCDC uses a mixture of the two approaches. The latest figures will give weight to predictions that this year could become the hottest on record.

Despite annual fluctuations, the figures also highlight the clear trend for the 2000s to be hotter than the 1990s, which in turn were clearly warmer than the previous decade, said Stott…

The cause of the warming was “dominated” by greenhouse gases emitted by human activity, said Stott. “It’s possible there’s some [other] process which can amplify other effects, such as radiation from the sun, [but] the evidence is so clear the chance there’s something we haven’t thought of seems to be getting smaller and smaller,” he said.

Not that climate weasels need any unique data to formulate denials.

Let me finish…

[When he reaches the end, click the pause button, otherwise it rolls back to earlier segments]

Regulars know I’m not a big fan of Chris Matthews, though not for a lot of good reasons. This was the sign-off from his show, last night – referencing President Obama’s address on the question of Immigration Reform.

That’s over here if you wish to watch the whole speech.

The civil libertarian side of the street has always been truly strong in this argument for me. But, when push comes to shove, when working people want a serious and legal method of dealing with the critical side of illegal migrant labor – I’m beginning to agree with Chris Matthews.

I admit it. Everyone else in my extended family says they’re more conservative than me – they’ve already switched to Matthews’ position.

Man dies waiting 30 hours – after 10 phone calls for ambulance

In his first call to 911, Curtis Mitchell sounded calm, explaining to dispatchers that his “entire stomach [was] in pain.”

By the time his longtime girlfriend made a 10th call nearly 30 hours later, she was frantic. He wasn’t breathing. He was cold to the touch.

“Oh God, oh God,” Sharon Edge sobbed to dispatchers. “I’ve been trying to get an ambulance over here for three days…”

I sat up here with him, watching him die,” Ms. Edge said Tuesday, after city officials apologized to her and pledged immediate changes in emergency response after Mr. Mitchell’s death on Feb. 7. “They didn’t do their jobs like they were supposed to…”

Ambulances were dispatched three times on Saturday, Feb. 6, to the couple’s home in the 5100 block of narrow Chaplain Way, but couldn’t get there because of the snow. Paramedics twice asked whether Mr. Mitchell could walk to an intersection, even after he told them that he could not because he was in too much pain.

Emergency vehicles were within blocks of his home three times — once so close Ms. Edge could see the ambulance lights from her porch — but did not make contact with him. They finally reached the home on Sunday morning, Feb. 7, but Mr. Mitchell was already dead.

“We should have gotten there,” Public Safety Director Michael Huss said. “It’s that simple.”

Yes – you should have. Sometimes it takes an extra little bit of dedication to perform a simple act of humanity. That’s why it’s called “humanity” and not Grade 4 attendant or some such.