October 11, 2007The New York Times today reports that Americans are neglecting the health of their teeth more than ever. While the number of dentists is relatively high, 27 percent of children and 29 percent of adults did not treat their cavities — a significant increase from the 1999 and 2002 results. In a highly developed nation such as America, how could this be?
The answer posed by the article is greed on the part of dentists. By refusing to accept patients on Medicaid, the federally funded dental insurance program, dentists prevent low-income patients from receiving the care they need. But is greed the root cause of the dental problems in this country?
As of 2004, there were 175,705 professionally active dentists practicing in the United States, according to the...
October 9, 2007
The New York Times today detailed New York regulators' plan to “help” insurers meet their obligations. By forcing them to take less profit and instead pool their money into an untouchable fund to be used only after catastrophic losses from a hurricane.
With an eye towards the crisis in Florida, NY regulators hope that their plan will prevent insurers from raising premiums after a major hurricane.
It's a nice thought, but it's more likely to cause insurers to raise premiums before the major hurricane.
For insurers, it is essential to be able to spread their risk so that it is unlikely that two catastrophic events (i.e. a category 4 hurricane in Florida and Earthquakes in California) happen at the same time. This way, when one occurs, they can use funds from the rest of...
October 4, 2007The New York Times published an article today correlating global warming to an increase in the amount of brush fires and drought in Australia. But there is no evidence suggesting that droughts or wildfires are more severe now than they have been in Australia's past.
Australia has a long history of dealing with extended stretches of drought; many longer than the current six-year period that the article states is so extreme. For example, in 1895 through 1903 most of the continent was plagued by drought in varying degrees of severity. Again in 1958 for a stretch of 10 years the whole of Australia...
September 21, 2007All you Columbia rejects out there dig out your “we regret to inform you” letters and plaque them up on the wall. Take it as a complement if you weren't a good fit with a university that doesn't know right from wrong, good from bad, leader from sewer rat.
The Ivy League institution invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at a forum this week, and when questioned about the appropriateness, University President Lee Bollinger defended the speech as part of the University's "long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate."
But discussion with Ahmadinejad could hardly be called a debate—there is no debate or argument you can make with a man who has no regard for human...
September 20, 2007The FDA wants your money—it needs your money if it is to continue poorly regulating the safety of drugs and killing citizens by stalling the process of creating new drugs. That is why the house passed a bill that allows the FDA to increase the “fees” they extort from drug and medical device manufacturers. It also gives the agency authority to scrutinize drugs even after they've been introduced on the market, and to mandate label changed.
They say if the bill doesn't pass they will have to fire 2,000 employees (or just stop handing out grotesquely large bonuses with tax-payer money). I say GOOD; let this lumbering institution (which is...
September 14, 2007Julie's post today included a link to the May '07 Vanity Fair article focusing on CEI's own Myron Ebell and the newest supposedly endangered species: the global warming skeptic. There were two elements to this article (apart from the rancorous tone) that I felt warranted a response.
First, there is the unsubstantiated claim, yet again, that “almost no scientist doubts that global warming is here, that man-made greenhouse gases are to blame, or that if we don't cut back on those gases fairly soon we'll be in a heap of trouble”
I'll track back to my own post yesterday, where I linked to a study concluding that:
Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an...
September 13, 2007Treehugger.com's quote of the day comes from Grist.org's April '06 interview with Elizabeth Kolbert—the lit. major-turned armchair scientist (or “climate journalist” as the Grist calls her) who published a verbose, 3-part narrative in the New Yorker; her take on the on the coming climate catastrophe. In the Grist interview Liz asserts her theory on why people could possible deny the idea of man-made global warming. The first reason is the “cry-wolf” syndrome: people have heard about the end of the world forever with nothing to show for it. Her second theory is that people think “If this were really as bad as you say, I would...
September 13, 2007I am always cautious when someone utilizes the “do it for the children” argument. Usually it signals a lack of rational justification and the necessity to appeal to the base emotional level in order to achieve certain ends. There seems to be a rash of that lately (i.e., the TV commercials where children lecture about the dangers of climate change). Big-eyed innocence can go a long way. But don't trust those little rug-rats (they'll say anything if you dangle a Hershey bar in front of them).
The latest example of this emotional exploitation is California's continued attempts to infringe on the individual rights of its citizens. Hiding behind the little children, CA regulators are...
September 12, 2007In her August 31st post titled "Bush pulls a Hillary on Housing???" with its gratuitous punctuation, Michelle Malkin actually seems surprised by Bush's latest betrayal of conservative/republican ideals. However, this behavior is neither new, nor surprising when you look back on Bush's past. In an op-ed published in the Washington Post last May, Richard Cohen analyzed a few of his policies and applies the term “neoliberal”. The only thing new about Bush's liberalism is that he isn't calling himself liberalâ€¦but then again, liberals never do that either.
September 12, 2007
Is it a preponderance of scientific evidence or an inundation of media coverage that, like a feedback loop, spurs on the theory that global warming is the cause for all the world's ills? This week there were at least two news stories (that I saw) pointing the finger at climate change for damaging the lives of animals.
The first story in the Washington Post takes up the honey bee crisis, postulating that the warming world is causing flowers to bloom earlier in the season, leading to low nectar production in bees, and subsequently undernourished bees that are more susceptible to Colony Collapse Disorder.
The second article from the BBC takes our optimistic dream...