1. Medicare Part D was controversial during its passage yet now is regarded as a success - and it may be the future of Obamacare. Making that case was no less than a Senator who was against Medicare Part D at the time, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whom I met at the American Action Forum meeting. Some of the stated intentions of the Affordable Care Act were similar - Part D has a private-sector model which leverages competition and innovation to reduce beneficiaries’ drug costs - but the execution has been so flawed as to make it unusable for all but a few.
There were great ideas on how that might be changed. But in politics, as in the military, everyone has a plan until the bullets start flying.
Moderator: Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Post
Former Senator Blanche L. Lincoln, Founder, Lincoln Policy Group
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum
Mike Mason, Vice President, Lilly Diabetes
Mike Anderson, Chief Pharmacy Officer, UnitedHealthcare
2. In Farm Journal's Pork, Dan Murphy is having none of a new study claiming that protein absorption from rare beef was lower than for well-done meat. He cites our analysis and makes his own point: Life is too short to live all of it worrying about prolonging it by seconds or days and not enjoying your food. We all agree that cooking meat at 195 degrees for 30 minutes is a human rights violation, not a meal. We wear leather, we don't consume it.
3. In Reason, Ron Bailey cites our book on conflicts on interest. When activists were gerrymandering the rules of government panels to make sure there were no industrial conflicts of interest present, they were dog whistling about the purity of academia which, let's be honest, is ideologically on their side in many ways. But when EPA declared that government panels had to be free from all financial conflicts of interest - EPA-funded researchers could not sit on their own panels - activists and journalists cried "foul", chastising EPA for not wanting the scientists it chooses to fund.
Bailey right noted the hypocrisy of that. Financial conflicts of interest are irrelevant of the source. If you are in an applied field of science and have never been asked to consult, you just aren't very good at your job. So it seemed odd to penalize that expertise. Now EPA-funded scientists get equality.
4. I attended the Milken Institute Future of Health Summit, which had a featured panel on heroin overdose deaths. The only thing they get wrong: They cater to media claims that prescription overdoses are a problem. We have shown for years that is not the case. They also have begun to note what the American Council on Science and Health has been noting for decades: Cancer and diseases will be overtaken by obesity issues. Trace chemicals were always ridiculous scaremongering, even in famous cases like Love Canal and Erin Brockovich. With smoking on the decline, obesity is set to be number one.
Too much food is certainly better than the alternative. But it does take a cultural maturity to shake off the last 50,000 years of 'you never know when your next meal will be.'
5. In Canada Free Press, trusted guide Jack Dini notes that wind energy is a lot of hot air. Venture capitalists in the U.S. have already lost around $25 billion and the U.S. government has lost even more. With no end in sight. Like ethanol farmers, wind farmers are lobbying hard to make sure the subsidies keep flowing, but it is not sustainable economically or environmentally. Near where I live in California, the Altamont Pass Wind Farm was supposedly going to free us from OPEC and make a profit by the end of the decade. That was in 1981. Today it is still a billion dollars in the hole.
It certainly didn't kill OPEC, it mostly just kills endangered birds. It could be worse. The Boeing MOD 2 turbine at Medicine Bow, Wyoming was sold as scrap for $13,000 five years after being built at a cost of $6 million.
6. In The Guardian, they note what we have long said about cancer awareness - it is more important to share real information than putting a pink heart on your Facebook wall. Grow a mustache if you want but if you are thinking you are raising awareness, the obvious question is among who. It's the same issue in science and health. Though 65 million Americans say on surveys they care about our issues, getting people to donate to a pro-science group is difficult. Meanwhile, environmental groups raise $1 billion a year scaring people. If you are a maverick and do want to support science beyond growing a mustache or sharing an article on a Facebook wall, please donate here.
7. In Men's Health, they covered our work on the mystery of the serial pooper - you may recall in Colorado when a woman strangely kept defecating in the same spot. She was so regular Greenwich called her to get the time. Then she got a copycat male. There is some psychology at work there.
8. Washington Post covered our article about computer scientist and self-proclaimed global warming expert Mark Jacobson suing PNAS because they published an article debunking his optimistic beliefs about, you guessed it, alternative energy like wind power. He says the article - led by NOAA, no less - debunking him damaged his reputation and ability to get consulting jobs. Who was paying that guy to consult, the EPA?
If they were hiring him before, they aren't now. He makes the climate change community look as bad as fellow computer scientist Stephanie Seneff makes the anti-GMO community look