When I hear that the city of Houston has done an excellent job moving homeless folks out of encampments and into homes, I feel compelled to note that studies have told us, for years, that putting homeless folks in homes actually costs taxpayers less than giving them emergent services. I also feel compelled to note, to the hard hats who say why do they get goodies, that anyone could become homeless at any time – yes, even a hard hat! And of course I also feel compelled to note that we didn’t have nearly as many homeless folks back in the days when we, you know, taxed rich folks and corporations hard, and spent a good chunk of that money ensuring folks had somewhere to live.
IRS Commissioner asks agency Inspector General to look into how James Comey and Andrew McCabe got audited over the last few years. Could it be a complete coincidence that our IRS audited two famous politicians who just so happened to be on the receiving end of abuse from former President Trump? Sure. But I’d be a schmuck to believe that! Absent evidence of actual wrongdoing, of course – and, given how few resources our IRS has to go after tax cheats anymore, I’d also have to know such wrongdoing merited special attention.
We could have Omicron-tailored boosters available by this fall, as Moderna, at least, thinks it could have one together fairly shortly, given relatively successful Phase 2/3 trials at our FDA. Now, we could have all new variants by then, but that doesn’t mean a booster aimed more at BA.4 and BA.5 would be useless, nor does it mean that boosters that don’t target those variants would be useless, as folks who’ve gotten their shots have had far less severe symptoms than those who haven’t. Worse than that, though, there’ll be even more COVID fatigue by then; those of us still masking up in supermarkets too often report we’re the only ones.
In a related note, a Lancet study finds that the COVID vaccines have saved close to 20 million lives in their first year of use. That’s the good news. The bad news? About two-thirds of those lives got saved in high- or middle-income nations, which not only isn’t particularly fair to poor nations that can’t weather pandemics as well, it also ensures that COVID will keep coming back to bite us in the ass. Of course, policymakers aren’t the only ones to blame – I still think the Delta wave wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if we didn’t have all these crybabies in America refusing to get vaccinated.
Surprise, surprise, Kansas will hold a vote on a constitutional amendment essentially outlawing abortion during the state’s primary election on August 2. Holding votes like these on primary day, rather than during a general election, seems an obvious act of disenfranchisement – unaffiliated voters can’t even vote on the amendment! -- but I’m sure if our Supreme Court would just throw up their hands and say well, why don’t the unaffiliated voters just join a party? Problem solved! Still, if I were running the pro-choice movement, I’d be descending on Kansas in force and with a quickness. Folks hate having something taken away from them, as I’ve said, but there’s still plenty of time for them to get so demoralized about it that they give up.
Finally, Northwestern University researchers may have found a way to handle severe pain without opioids, via a dissolvable implant that cools peripheral nerves that transmit pain elsewhere in your body. I don’t suspect these implants will cure opioid addiction – their developers say they’d go in along with surgery – but I suspect they’ll reduce the number of folks who need opioids to deal with pain after surgery, which would still be a good work. I wish these researchers the best in their future endeavors.