How to be a man

I found this list pretty entertaining.  Some of my favorites:

  • If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.
  • Act like you’ve been there before.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.
  • Do not use an electric razor.
  • Staying angry is a waste of energy.
  • Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.
  • If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn’t want you.
  • No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.

Video of the day

The changing lines of the European front during WWII over every day of the war.  Very cool.


My friend Pat

So, this past weekend I did the Triangle Autism Run 5k with my oldest, David, followed by the 1 mile walk with the whole Greene clan.  Here’s David and me after the run (about 27 minutes– David’s pace, I probably could’ve done 25 or so).

Anyway, we generally like to stop along the walk to take photos at the NC Governor’s mansion as it’s quite the scenic backdrop.  We were about to do so, when who did we see waving at us, but the governor himself, Pat McCrory.

IMG_1171 (2)


What surprised me was my instantaneous strong, positive emotional reaction to this.  Now I’ve never thought McCrory was a particularly bad guy– just clueless and in over his head, but I was genuinely surprised at the amount of positive sentiment it created in me to see him out waving to all of us on the Autism Walk.  Now, we all know I’m not voting for McCrory in 2016.  But if I were some politically disengaged person this might well be my strongest memory of Pat McCrory over four years and that would certainly have the potential to influence my vote.  Anyway, just a useful reminder for me of the emotional power of politics.


Quote of the day

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

 If a patriot can stand in front of the White House brandishing the Confederate flag, then the word “patriot” has no meaning.

Some context:

On Sunday, a group of conservative radicals held a protest in Washington. Eventually they walked to the White House. One of these radicals felt it was a good idea to wave the flag of slavery, treason, and terrorism in front of the home of America’s first black president. Lone idiots are often drawn to protest action. The behavior of such idiots, while alarming, should not necessarily be taken as an indicator of the aims and thrust of the protest…

It is the wisdom of the crowd that matters. The wisdom that marked Sunday’s crowd was the idea that the president “bows down to Allah” and needs to “put the Qu’ran down.” The wisdom that marked Sunday’s crowd was the notion that Obama was not the president of “the people” but the president of “his people.” The wisdom of Sunday’s crowd held that the police, doing their job, looked “like something out of Kenya.” It’s not so much that a man would fly a Confederate flag, as Jeff Goldberg notes, in front of the home of a black family. It’s that a crowd would allow him the comfort of doing it.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Photo of the day

How did I not know about Twisted Sifter?  So many cool photos of the day.  Love this one:


Photograph by ZeroOne on Flickr

Our expensive drugs– it’s policy choices

The latest in the Times’ excellent series on America’s absurdly inefficient and absurdly expensive health care system takes a look at prescription drugs and it’s another tour-de-force.   All sorts of good stuff in here.  I especially like that it uses the case study of the crazy situation with the common asthma drug albuterol, which after being generic for years somehow went non-generic again, thereby busting the budgets of those struggling to breathe.  Anyway, as the article makes clear in several places, this is no accident, but a direct outcome of (poor) policy choices our country has made in the realm of health care:

Unlike other countries, where the government directly or indirectly sets an allowed national wholesale price for each drug, the United States leaves prices to market competition among pharmaceutical companies, including generic drug makers. But competition is often a mirage in today’s health care arena — a surprising number of lifesaving drugs are made by only one manufacturer — and businesses often successfully blunt market forces.

Asthma inhalers, for example, are protected by strings of patents — for pumps, delivery systems and production processes — that are hard to skirt to make generic alternatives, even when the medicines they contain are old, as they almost all are…

They [pharmaceutical companies] even pay generic drug makers not to produce cut-rate competitorsin a controversial scheme called pay for delay.

Thanks in part to the $250 million last year spent on lobbying for pharmaceutical and health products — more than even the defense industry — the government allows such practices. Lawmakers in Washington have forbidden Medicare, the largest government purchaser of health care, to negotiate drug prices. Unlike its counterparts in other countries, the United States Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which evaluates treatments for coverage by federal programs, is not allowed to consider cost comparisons or cost-effectiveness in its recommendations. And importation of prescription medicines from abroad is illegal, even personal purchases from mail-order pharmacies.

“Our regulatory and approval system seems constructed to achieve high-priced outcomes,” said Dr. Peter Bach, the director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “We don’t give any reason for drug makers to charge less.”

And taxpayers and patients bear the consequences.

And the consequences are huge.  It’s health care that’s busting our budget.  Everything else is just so much noise.  And we’re not any healthier for it!  Pharmaceutical drugs are actually a fairly small portion of our overall excess cost, but they are completely emblematic at everything that is wrong with the US health care system that drives up prices far beyond what the rest of the world pays.  It’s hard to read this article and not just be infuriated.  And deeply depressed. But read it all you should.  If nothing else, it’s got a super-cool embedded infographic on the relative cost of medicines that you really need to see.

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