COURAGE Guinea pigs — patients at veterans hospitals

Optimal Medical Therapy with or without PCI for Stable Coronary Disease, NEJM April 12, 2024
Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation

This is not to question the ethical standards of the men and women who conducted this research, nor is it to voice a cultural criticism regarding the Veterans Administration as a source of clinical subjects for evaluation. Rather, it’s presented as an eye-opener. Lecture fees, consulting fees, and grant support from the pharmaceutical industry seem to power the engine of clinical research, while cross ventilation of ideas from the clinical researchers to their industry counterparts seems to be the quid pro quo.

“Dr. Boden reports receiving consulting fees and lecture fees from Kos Pharmaceuticals, PDL BioPharma, Pfizer, CV Therapeutics, and Sanofi-Aventis, and grant support from Merck and Abbott Laboratories; Dr. O’Rourke, consulting fees from King Pharmaceuticals, Lilly, and CV Therapeutics; Dr. Teo, grant support from Boehringer Ingelheim; Dr. Knudtson, lecture fees from Medtronic and Lilly; Dr. Harris, having equity ownership in Amgen; Dr. Chaitman, receiving consulting fees from CV Therapeutics, Merck, and Bayer, lecture fees from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and CV Therapeutics, and grant support from Pfizer, CV Therapeutics, and Sanofi-Aventis; Dr. Shaw, grant support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Astellas Healthcare; Dr. Booth, grant support from Actelion; Dr. Bates, consulting fees from Sanofi-Aventis and AstraZeneca and lecture fees from Sanofi-Aventis; Dr. Spertus, consulting fees from Amgen and United Healthcare and grant support from Amgen, Roche Diagnostics, and Lilly (and in the past, consulting fees and grant support from CV Therapeutics and owning the copyright for the Seattle Angina Questionnaire, the Peripheral Artery Questionnaire, and the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire); Dr. Berman, consulting fees and lecture fees from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Astellas, Tyco, and Siemens and grant support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Astellas; Dr. Mancini, consulting and lecture fees from Pfizer, Abbott, and GlaxoSmithKline, lecture fees from Merck and Sanofi-Aventis, and grant support from Cordis and GlaxoSmithKline; and Dr. Weintraub, consulting fees from Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb and grant support from Sanofi-Aventis. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.”

Special Prosecutor for Bush, Cheney, and DOJ Attorneys

February 24, 2024

*Statement on Prosecution of Former High Officials *

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or “truth” commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.

Drafted by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee

Signed By:

Center for Constitutional Rights

The National Lawyers Guild

After Downing Street

American Freedom Campaign

Ann Wright, retired US Army Reserve Colonel and US diplomat

Backbone Campaign

Brad Blog

Cities for Peace

CODE PINK: Women for Peace

Daniel Ellsberg, Truth-Telling Project

Defending Dissent Foundation

Delaware Valley Veterans for America

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Gold Star Families for Peace

Grandmothers Against the War

Grassroots America

High Road for Human Rights Advocacy Project

Iraq Veterans Against the War

Justice Through Music

Marcus Raskin, co-founder of Institute for Policy Studies, member of editorial board of the /Nation/, member of the special staff of the National Security Council in the Kennedy Administration

Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored

Naomi Wolf, author of /End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot/, and /Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries/

National Accountability Network

Northeast Impeachment Coalition

Op Ed News

Peace Action

Peace Team

The Progressive

Progressive Democrats of America

Republicans for Impeachment

United for Peace and Justice

Velvet Revolution

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Veterans for Peace

Voters for Peace

War Crimes Times

Wisconsin Impeachment/Bring Our Troops Home Coalition

World Can’t Wait

Taking it easy

A heavy snowfall, a snow shovel, a sunny morning—I donned my coat with the quilted down lining, covered my bean with a stocking cap, pulled on gloves, and strode forth briskly to meet the challenge. Shoveling snow is a great aerobic upper body exercise, but today I took it easy. After I had pushed most of the snow off the porch I took a break. Normally I’m a dervish when snow shoveling. I create my own blizzard around me as I cut down the drifts. Today I’ve reduced my expectations. Today I’m more into snow clearing than snow shoveling. I’m taking it easy.

Who knows where the time goes

The fire of Web 2.0 has finally burned out. The Web 2.0 consultants have risen from the ashes born again as Social Media Experts. A question I heard recently: “What’s the difference between a Social Media Expert and a large pizza?” The answer? “A large pizza can feed a family of four.”

In the sixties my input was first via card decks, and later via TTY terminals hooked up to the mainframe over phone lines using acoustic couplers. 300 baud, man.

In the seventies not much changed for me. I was sort of distanced from “big-iron” computing machinery. It was a decade that began with IBM word processing typewriters and then, while the mid-peninsula folk were wiring up their first personal computers, I was suffering a brief obsession with programmable hand-held calculators… Hewlett Packard 67 versus Texas Instruments 95, elegant versus affordable.

My information technology neighborhoods and niches in the eighties were data networking, IBM Systems Network Architecture, and document creation… from IBM’s GML to Wang’s VS word processing computers. Ethernet emerged into the public consciousness early in the eighties and put paid to ARCNET and IBM’s token ring architecture. The clusters of dumb terminals tied by a coaxial umbilical cord to a cluster controller and sharing the processing power of the IBM mainframe were replaced by PCs. The Macintosh emerged as an elegant little stand-alone device. The competition then between Microsoft operating systems and Apple was no different than it is now. The Mac’s were elegant. The PCs were affordable. Novell was the proprietary standard Network Operating System. Modem manufacturers like Racal Vadic, Racal Milgo, and Gandalf rose and fell. All traffic was textual and the speed varied from very slow to slow.

It was the time of USENET and Gopher, an emerging public use of the Internet. It was also the time of the rise of the great roach traps, the mass market online Network Service Providers—CompuServe, AOL, Prodigy, and GEnie casting long shadows over the small ISPs, the online Bulletin Board Services, and communities of interest such as the Well. Much more could be said about these private and public networks and services, but not here, not now.

Came the nineties and the rise of the world wide web. Browsers ruled. 56kbps modems weren’t fast enough. A lot of ISPs with money sunk in modem racks were going out of business by 1995. I was crafting crude brochure-ware web sites and hooking up web access to online banking and payment systems by day and web surfing by night. The number of AOL diskettes and CDs arriving in my mailbox quadrupled. Even today I have friends with email addresses so I know the company didn’t go out of business. In the competition for sticky eyeballs, AOL may have been the winner. Who knows?

Came the naughts and the echoes of the old Cat Stevens song…

out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a cluetrain
Oh cluetrain take this country,
come take me home again

For the people came empowerment. For business came a time of instability and radical change. Markets became boogie. Personal web publishing and media creation took off. The google pretty much made the Yellow Pages irrelevant, and Craig Newmark single-handedly sank newspaper classified advertising with his list.

Well, so much for the reminiscence. Today we are locked into our networks, neighborhoods, and niches. We twitter, we hang out on facebook, share photos on Flickr, and videos on YouTube. We mark our passage with “lifestreaming” software. We catch every bookmark from, every status update on the facebook, blog entries, our tumblr stuff our stumbleupons and our diggs, and we extrude them through FriendFeed so no nuance of our interactive online life will be lost. The flavor of the month afficionados call these the tools of social media. The more cynical call them digital crack.

A lot of people have spiraled around the drain and been flushed out onto a beach in Second Life. Time moves differently there, but maybe that’s a ramble for a different day and a different blog post.

Sarah Palin School of Wildlife Management

“If you shoot wolves to save moose, and then you shoot the moose, you’re either out of your mind or in Alaska.”
Friends of Animals poster, autumn, 2024

And now the State of Nevada is using the same logic to kill mountain lions that prey on deer. The reasoning being that we need to save the deer so hunters can kill them. The hunters get a two-fer with this kind of program. If they’re lucky, they can bag a deer and a mountain lion on the same outing. What grand sport!

Xe Worldwide — the mercenaries formerly known as Blackwater

Blackwater, Enron, Halliburton, KBR… most of the top brands of the Bush administration have been destroyed or devalued. Blackwater Worldwide, with it’s eye on the prize of no-bid contracts to patrol the Mexican border has been rebranded. Hoping to wash away the stains from their homicidal outlawry in Iraq, the killers formerly known as Blackwater became “Xe Worldwide” last week.

Xe Worldwide is ripe for nationalization. The cadre of highly trained security forces would, with a little attitude adjustment, fit nicely into the US Marine Corps. In fact, if the list of indicted Xe Worldwide mercenaries is representative, many of them have already been trained as marines.

Whatever combination of lobbying influence, cronyism and budgetary havoc created by the Bush administration permitted these “service providers” to contract for jobs that should be done by the military, it’s time for a change. It’s time to return our marines to their assignment of protecting embassies, it’s time to return responsibility for government service to the government, and it’s time to roll-up the assets of the crooks who surrounded Bush and let them sort things out through receivership. Where better to start than with his private army?

[tags]thugs, brutes, @55holes[/tags]

Houston? Houston?

Stand by for re-entry. Might be a bumpy ride.

I still can’t get my head around the fact that we die. That we die comma period.  This, this very this, astonishes me every day of my long legged life.  But I suppose it’s better to wait for that grim bastard standing on my own two feet.  Not dragging some oxygen tank over to the nickel slots.  Eh?

He worked as meat cutter for Purity Supreme Supermarket in the Boston area for more than 30 years before his retirement in 1980. Henry had been a longtime

(Started off as a comment on this post over here.)

sort of setting the mood here

Premature Burial

We die.

You will never hear those words spoken in a television ad. Yet this central fact of human existence colors our world and how we perceive ourselves within it.

“Life is too short,” we say, and it is. Too short for office politics, for busywork and pointless paper chases, for jumping through hoops and covering our asses, for trying to please, to not offend, for constantly struggling to achieve some ever-receding definition of success. Too short as well for worrying whether we bought the right suit, the right breakfast cereal, the right laptop computer, the right brand of underarm deodorant.

Life is too short because we die. Alone with ourselves, we sometimes stop to wonder what’s important, really. Our kids, our friends, our lovers, our losses? Things change and change is often painful. People get “downsized,” move away, the old neighborhood isn’t what it used to be. Children get sick, get better, get bored, get on our nerves. They grow up hearing news of a world more frightening than anything in ancient fairy tales. The wicked witch won’t really push you into the oven, honey, but watch out for AK-47s at recess.

Amazingly, we learn to live with it. Human beings are incredibly resilient. We know it’s all temporary, that we can’t freeze the good times or hold back the bad. We roll with the punches, regroup, rebuild, pick up the pieces, take another shot. We come to understand that life is just like that. And this seemingly simple understanding is the seed of a profound wisdom.

Why beat around the bush? I had a heart attack this week. I was incredibly short of breath, but didn’t have any pain. I thought. Since my fall on my back on the ice I’ve had a lot of pain in all the muscles around my shoulder blades and some has bled over into the chest muscles too. How much of the pain I felt Tuesday morning was residual pain from the fall, and how much was actually the pain associated with a myocardial infarction I guess I’ll never know.

When my breathing slowed and I got my wind back I figured I was back to normal. Beth was persistent and insistent and finally I got in the car and we went to the hospital. Beth drove.

We began with a visit to the Emergency Room, a test that showed Troponin in my blood, a gurney ride to the cardiac care unit, lots more blood tests and IV punctures, bags of saline and bags of heparin and the most uncomfortable night I have had sleeping since we slept in jungle hammocks in Bulovsky’s woods. Next morning they put me in line for a cardiac catheterization. I confessed my anxiety to the nurse. She said not to worry, I would get over it quickly enough, and I did. Get over it. Whatever they put in my IV had me packing up my cares and woes and whistling Bye-bye Blackbird. They found that my arteries are about as atherosclerotic as you might expect in a man my age, but no blockages, nothing requiring bypass or stents or balloons or whatever. They monitored me for several hours after they pulled the catheter out of my heart via the puncture they’d made in my femoral artery. Finally, they sent me home with prescriptions for three different drugs.

I was at first totally in denial. No elephant sitting on my chest, therefore no heart attack. The Troponin was probably the other kind of Troponin, the kind that comes from—oh, I dunno, falling on the ice for example. Fortunately we have the google at my house, so I was able to read a little and learn that the many physicians, technicians, and nurses were probably right in their diagnosis and my intuition that I really hadn’t had a heart attack was likely quite wrong.

There are so many things to write about that even a moment’s reflection on my own mortality seems kind of cheesy. And while I have a health problem, so do a lot of other people and you don’t hear them whining and kvetching. Let’s close the door on the cardiac ward and get out of here. Let’s get back to talking about politics and the economy, to sharing some links to enjoyable art, and to poking fun at the self important buffoons who surround us.

Speaking of which, here’s a guy who’s doing it rightGood morning, good afternoon, good evening and good day.

Stay tuned for Ben Casey, MD

Stay tuned for Ben Casey, MD

Gaza aid

The hits just keep on coming. Obama simply makes me feel good about our American prospect.

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release February 2, 2024
January 27, 2024
Presidential Determination

No. 2024-15

SUBJECT: Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration

Needs Related to Gaza

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (the “Act”), as amended (22 U.S.C. 2601), I hereby determine, pursuant to section 2(c)(1) of the Act, that it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the Act in an amount not to exceed $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative expenses of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.