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It’s A Scam

Mustang Bobby wrote about the Potemkin Town Hall held by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Mel Martinez (R-FL) in Hialeah, Florida. One of the lines in the news article, “McConnell’s call to protect doctors from lawsuits drew steady applause”, shows the ignorance of everyone there, as well as the news media.

Florida is one of 38 states that passed a “tort reform” law, limiting the rights of patients to recover punitive compensation in malpractice suits. JEB Bush called a special session of the legislature to get the law passed because the cost of malpractice insurance was supposedly a major burden for Florida’s doctors and the insurance companies said that they would be able to lower rates if there was tort reform.

The state probably spent more on that special session than doctors saved on malpractice insurance since that law was passed. If there were any real savings, it was obviously channeled to the healthy profit margins of the insurance companies, not to reduce rates.

I don’t want to point fingers, but very few malpractice suits are actually filed in the US, which is amazing as we know that about 100,000 people a year die from identified medical mistakes. The bulk of the money awarded is for the medical care that the victims have had and will need to have to correct the mistake. HR-676 would eliminate that cost. Medical malpractice suits are almost unheard of in countries with universal health care.

September 2, 2009   Comments Off on It’s A Scam

It’s A Dessert Topping And A Floor Wax…

From the BBC, because you can’t expect the corporate media to say bad things about other corporations: Pfizer agrees record fraud fine

US drugmaker Pfizer has agreed to pay $2.3bn (£1.4bn) in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice.

A subsidiary pleaded guilty to misbranding drugs “with the intent to defraud or mislead”.

Pfizer illegally promoted four drugs and caused false claims to be submitted to government healthcare programmes for uses that were not medically accepted.

US officials said Pfizer would have to enter a corporate integrity agreement.

It will be subject to additional public scrutiny by requiring it to make “detailed disclosures” on its website.

The civil settlement also relates to allegations that Pfizer paid bribes to healthcare providers to induce them to prescribe four named drugs. These are Bextra, an anti-inflammatory drug, Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug, Zyvox, an antibiotic and Lyrica, an epilepsy treatment.

The investigation was trigged by allegations made by six whistleblowers. They will receive $102m of the civil fines paid by Pfizer.

[Read more →]

September 2, 2009   5 Comments

Station Fire Update 9-2

FireThe fire in the Angeles National Forest has now burned over 140,150 acres and at least 62 structures and cost about $21 million. It is 22% contained.

The Station Fire started off Angeles Crest Highway (SR 2) about one mile above Angeles Crest Fire Station around 3:30pm [PDT]Wednesday August 26, 2009.

Two Los Angeles County firefighters have died in a motor vehicle accident escaping a burnover. In addition there have been 6 others injured.

Currently there are 44 hand crews, 399 engines, 43 water tenders, 48 dozers, 11 air tankers, 13 helicopters, and 4,735 total personnel assigned to the fire.

The aircraft now include the 747 Supertanker [20,000 gallons], Tanker 910 [DC-10 12,000 gallons], Mars Hawaii Superscooper [7,200 gallons], and two Canadair 415 water scoopers [1,600 gallons] from the Province of Quebec.

Links: InciWeb, LA Times, KTLA, and Pasadena Star-News

Maps: LA Times fire map, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, and the Weather Underground Smoke Map.

Webcams: Tujunga and Altadena

Note: The Mount Wilson webcam is down, probably a loss of communications lines due to the fire.

[For more information go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]

September 2, 2009   5 Comments

Tropical Storm Erika 9-2

Tropical Storm ErikaPosition: 16.1 N 62.4 W [10 PM 0300 UTC].
Movement: West [270°] near 9 mph [15 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 40 mph [65 kph].
Wind Gusts: 50 mph [80 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 175 miles [280 km].
Minimum central pressure: 1008 mb.

It is 290 miles [470 km] East-Southeast of San Juan Puerto Rico.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the islands of Dominica, St. Maarten, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Puerto Rico, and the US and British Virgin Islands.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

September 2, 2009   2 Comments

Pacific Tropical Storm Jimena 9-2

Tropical Storm JimenaPosition: 27.0 N 112.3 W [10 PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: North [360°] near 9 mph [15 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 70 mph [110 kph].
Wind Gusts: 85 mph [140 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 140 miles [225 km].
Minimum central pressure: 988 mb ↑.

It is 20 miles [35 km] South of Santa Rosalia Mexico.

The center of the storm made landfall between Puerto San Andresita and San Junico Mexico as a Category 2 storm.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

September 2, 2009   Comments Off on Pacific Tropical Storm Jimena 9-2