Who has the best excuses – and lobbyists with the most buck$
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was fired on Friday
❝ Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, an Obama administration holdover, was asked to resign by the Trump administration on Friday. He was replaced by his deputy, Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, one of the first nurses to serve as surgeon general.
Admiral Trent-Adams will for now be in an acting role. As of Friday evening, she had already replaced Dr. Murthy on the surgeon general’s Twitter account, and her portrait had replaced his on the agency’s Facebook page. One of the first comments on that post asked, “Where is Dr. Murthy?”…
❝ Alleigh Marré, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an emailed statement on Friday that he was asked to step down “after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump administration.” Ms. Marré said Dr. Murthy would continue to serve as a member of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service.
❝ Surgeons general have little staff or power but generally use their positions to call attention to important public health priorities.
Dr. Murthy has for years made headlines for calling gun violence a public health threat. In 2014, the National Rifle Association urged the Senate not to confirm him.
Who will our so-called president name as permanent replacement?
The leading candidate is an NRA member
You, too, can call yourself a true Republican-style hunter.
❝ The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to legalize the killing of black bear cubs and their mothers at their dens in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.
The controversial measure, backed by the National Rifle Association, overturns a ‘Fair Chase’ rule, promulgated by the Obama administration, that also limited baiting, trapping, and the use of airplanes to track and shoot bears and wolves on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands in Alaska.
❝ The vote was met with an outpouring of criticism from wildlife and conservation groups.
❝ “Alaska’s extreme predator control policies lack scientific support, contravene conservation mandates on national wildlife refuges and defy traditional wildlife management principles,” said Jenny Keatinge, federal lands policy analyst with Defenders of Wildlife. “H.J. Res. 69 would cede federal management of iconic wildlife to the state’s misguided program on over 76 million acres of national wildlife refuges that belong to all Americans.”
❝ Safari Club International, a group that has been criticized by both sportsmen and animals rights groups for advocating canned or captive “hunting” and elite trophy hunting, joined the NRA in pushing Congress to overturn the Fair Chase rule.
As a lifelong hunter, I oppose any hunting of predators under damned near all conditions. Destroying nature’s own checks and balances to satisfy the ego of trophy hunters ain’t my idea of how we evolved as hunter-gatherers.
Add in the demented profiteering of gun lobbyists like the NRA and you have so-called hunting that fits the mold of ruling-class creeps in 19th Century English hunt clubs.
❝ Our expert survey asked dozens of social scientists, lawyers and public health officials how effective each of 29 policies would be in reducing firearm homicide deaths, regardless of their political feasibility or cost. Policies deemed both effective and popular appear in the upper-right corner of the matrix. Less popular, less effective measures fall lower down and to the left.
The two policies ranked most effective were those requiring all sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys a gun, and barring gun sales to people convicted of violent misdemeanors, including domestic assaults. The experts were more skeptical of other much-debated proposals, including a national gun registry and an assault weapons ban. The idea of requiring states to honor out-of-state concealed weapon permits was ranked low.
❝ The academics in our panel — many of the country’s best empirical researchers on gun policy — were far more likely than the general public to support gun control. But nearly all of the policies that experts think could work have widespread support from the general public.
❝ While Americans remain sharply divided in their overall view of the tension between gun control and gun rights, individual proposals are widely favored. The most popular measures in our survey — policies like universal background checks and keeping guns from convicted stalkers — were supported by more than 85 percent of registered voters. Even the least popular idea, a law that would limit gun sales to people who had to demonstrate a “genuine need” for the weapon, was favored by nearly 50 percent.
RTFA for more comparisons, more detail on what is favored by experts and us ordinary American citizens. Minus Congressional conservatives of course. Still too candyass to do a damned thing.
In this week’s obvious news, laws that allow people to kill other people with guns have led to more people killing other people with guns. According to two new research papers, stricter firearm laws are associated with fewer firearm homicides, and the implementation of Florida’s stand-your-ground law was associated with increased firearm homicides.
These findings, released today by the JAMA Internal Medicine, may sound obvious. But since Congress has essentially withheld all funding for gun violence research for the last 20 years, large-scale studies of this sort have been few and far between. As The Atlantic reported, “In the mid-1990s, Congress declared that funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shouldn’t be used to advocate for gun control, and it effectively blocked funding for the study of gun violence at the agency.” Despite studies showing that gun violence is a threat to human health and safety, the CDC, a federally funded public health agency with a seven billion dollar annual budget, still withholds support from gun research. Perhaps these new findings will bolster the case for federal funding.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for chickenshit Congress-critters to act.
One paper released today, first-authored by Lois K. Lee of Harvard Medical School, examined five types of gun laws: “those that (1) curb gun trafficking, (2) strengthen background checks, (3) improve child safety, (4) ban military-style assault weapons, and (5) restrict firearms in public places and leniency in firearm carrying.” The researchers found strong evidence that laws strengthening background checks and purchase permits helped decrease gun homicide rates. Interestingly, the researchers did not find strong evidence that laws focusing on trafficking, child safety and assault weapons decreased firearm homicides. The evidence for the effects of laws regarding guns in public places was not conclusive either way. On the whole, though, they found that, “stronger gun policies were associated with decreased rates of firearm homicide, even after adjusting for demographic and sociologic factors.”
Another paper released today, also in JAMA Internal Medicine, tracked the effects of Florida’s stand-your-ground law since its implementation in 2005. This law allows a person to use deadly force instead of retreating from what they believe to be a life-threatening encounter. To conduct this research, David K. Humphreys of University of Oxford and his colleagues examined gun death data for the years leading up to 2005 and the years after, then compared them to other states’ data for the same years. They found that gun homicides increased in the years following 2005, while prior to 2005 they had remained relatively stable. The comparison states (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia) which don’t have stand-your-ground laws, did not have similar increases, strengthening the evidence that this is a Florida trend associated with stand-your-ground laws, not part of a national trend…
Informed discussion requires sound data. When public bodies, from the Republican Party and Blue Dog Democrats to the NRA oppose the collection of any data at all they only illuminate their cowardice, their fear of law and public practice reflecting conclusions about best practices. Ideology trumps evidence quite easily when evidence collection is forbidden.