Behold! ALEC's legislative agenda for the coming year, courtesy the Center for Media and Democracy. What will they be up to? Keeping Frankenfood from being labeled, keeping good citizens from suing corporations when corporations hurt them, privatizing our schools, promoting fossil-fuel pollution, ripping apart Medicaid -- and, ah, ending licensing and certification of doctors and other medical professionals. Yes, you read that right, and they call that model bill the "Patient Access to Expansion Act." Well, it sure will expand their access to bad doctors! We'll have our work cut out for us next year.
You've heard of "Small Business Saturday"? And you're aware it's a project of American Express? Citizens for Tax Justice points out the obvious: that American Express -- as a corporation taking advantage of, and seeking to expand, offshore tax havens -- is no friend of the small businesses that can't take advantage of offshore tax havens. Maybe American Express feels guilty. You all know how to avoid feeling guilty, right? Don't set out to do wrong.
Les Leopold at the Huffington Post makes an ambitious point, that "the rise in incarceration corresponds with the rise of financialization and the dramatic increase in Wall Street incomes." The flesh is willing, but correlation isn't causation, and I think both the leaded gasoline thesis for violent crime and the "hot-spot" thesis for dropping crime rates (to name two controversial theories) have more explanatory power.
Peter Dreier presents an avalanche of useful information in taking NPR's Robert Siegel to task for asking a guest whether the average bank teller salary of $11/hour ain't so bad in some parts of the country. Of course, it's not -- but in those parts of the country, bank tellers ain't making $11/hour either to begin with. Unless they're commuting from Arkansas to New York City!
Finally, Australian researchers have developed a "bio-pen," which would allow surgeons to "draw" cartilage directly on the body. Specifically, the pen would insert cells directly into a surgical area, and those cells would then grow into nerve/muscle/bone calls as needed. The article doesn't specify, but this method looks like it could, in time, replace hip implants. Sounds great -- and I'd still subject it to a rigorous medical device review process if it came to the U.S.