This is some kind of wonderful.
Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. According to Bill Nye, aka "The Science Guy," if grownups want to "deny evolution and live in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them."
Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we're the world's most advanced technological?I mean, you could say Japan?but generally, the United States is where most of the innovations still happens. People still move to the United States. And that's largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.
Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It's like, it's very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You're just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place.
As my old professor, Carl Sagan, said, "When you're in love you want to tell the world." So, once in a while I get people that really?or that claim?they don't believe in evolution. And my response generally is "Well, why not? Really, why not?" Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they're at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.
And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can?we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
It's just really hard a thing, it's really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I'm sure, will be, it just won't exist. There's no evidence for it.
Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler
Florida. Political convention. Republicans. A perfect opportunity for the President of the United States to discuss ?.. Medicare. Bwwaaah.
Republicans in Congress have put forward a very different plan. They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. That means that instead of being guaranteed Medicare, seniors would get a voucher to buy insurance, but it wouldn?t keep up with costs. As a result, one plan would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year for the same benefits they get now. And it would effectively end Medicare as we know it.President Barack Obama laid it out firm and clear in this morning's weekly address, drawing a stark contrast between Republicans plans for health care for seniors and his own quest to preserve and protect the Medicare program, most notably in the Affordable Care Act, affectionately known as "Obamacare."
And yeah, he said the Republican plan "would effectively end Medicare as we know it." He said quite a bit of other awesome stuff too, like how we keep our promises here in America:
It?s not about overheated rhetoric at election time. It?s about a promise this country made to our seniors that says if you put in a lifetime of hard work, you shouldn?t lose your home or your life savings just because you get sick.And how the implication?which Democrats should make more often than they do?that this "entitlement" program is a hand-out is ... well, baloney. Screw that. Say it loud and say it clear:
Over the last 47 years, millions of Americans have worked for that promise. They?ve earned it.Amen. And yeah, I very happily added the emphasis there.
And unlike those country club guys heading Tampa's way, he has a personal stake in these kinds of programs, he told listeners:
Growing up as the son of a single mother, I was raised with the help of my grandparents. I saw how important things like Medicare and Social Security were in their lives. And I saw the peace of mind it gave them.And he finished off with a nice resounding "this is what America is all about" flourish:
Here in America, we believe in keeping our promises?especially to our seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work and deserve to enjoy their golden years. That?s what Medicare is all about. That?s why we need to strengthen and preserve it for future generations. And as long as I have the honor of serving as your President, that?s exactly what I?ll do.To read the pretty darn satisfying transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.
Here's to you, Schoep, and to you, John Unger. May the two of you swim happily in Lake Superior for some time to come.[...]
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There are ‘dog whistles’, subtle signals that only the base can hear. Mitt Romney isn’t even bothering with that– just going straight to Birtherland. So no one ever asked him to show his birth certificate? Yeah, Mitt, I’ll bet that no one follows your wife around the store when she goes shopping, or asks you in your own country ‘where you’re from’? Why would that be?
Never in my life have I ever heard a president’s nationality questioned until we elected our first black president. If Mitt Romney thinks the meaning of his ‘joke’ is lost on Black Americans he will find out different in November.
(thank you, Public Domain Clip Art)
Via Politico we learn why the Romney people don't like doing media - because their candidate is a little unhinged.ARTICLE OF THE DAY -- JON WARD in Huffington magazine (available today on iPad; article posts Monday), ?The One-Termer? Thinking Bold Thoughts With Team Romney?: ?Matt Rhoades is guarded and intense ? [W]hen I met him in mid-July, in a bohemian coffee shop in Boston?s North End, the...
Dr. Lee Rogers with his new-born daughter
President Harry Truman first proposed Medicare in 1945. Republicans and conservative Southern Democrats fought it bitterly for two decades before President Lyndon Johnson signed it-- and Medicaid-- into law on July 30, 1965, part of the Great Society. Harry Truman was the first person to enroll. It finally passed because the Republicans were allowed to water it down but even then only 13 Republican senators voted for it. 17 voted NO and 2 didn't vote. 7 Democrats also opposed it but 57 voted YES. In the House half the Republicans voted YES (70) and 68 voted NO and 2 didn't vote. 237 Democrats voted YES and 48, mostly southern racists who soon joined the GOP, opposed it. Almost 50 years have passed since then and the Democrats are still trying to improve it and make it more accessible-- while the GOP is as determined as ever to destroy it.
This morning, President Obama addressed the nation and talked exclusively about Medicare, primarily because the Republicans have been making a lot of false accusations, as always, and he was concerned that there's a lot of "misinformation flying around."
This week, we found out that, thanks to the health care law we passed, nearly 5.4 million seniors with Medicare have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs. That?s an average of more than $700 per person. And this year alone, 18 million seniors with Medicare have taken advantage of preventive care benefits like mammograms or other cancer screenings that now come at no extra cost.
That?s progress. It means that seniors everywhere are getting the care they need for less. And if you have questions about what benefits you?re entitled to, you can go to medicare.gov to find out.
This news is also a reminder of what?s really at stake when we talk about the future of Medicare. It?s not about overheated rhetoric at election time. It?s about a promise this country made to our seniors that says if you put in a lifetime of hard work, you shouldn?t lose your home or your life savings just because you get sick.
Over the last 47 years, millions of Americans have worked for that promise. They?ve earned it. And for many seniors, the care they?ve gotten through Medicare has made all the difference in the world.
Growing up as the son of a single mother, I was raised with the help of my grandparents. I saw how important things like Medicare and Social Security were in their lives. And I saw the peace of mind it gave them.
That?s why, as President, my goal has been to strengthen these programs now, and preserve them for future generations. Because today?s seniors deserve that same peace of mind. And the millions of Americans who are working hard right now deserve to know that the care they need will be available when they need it.
That?s why, as part of the Affordable Care Act, we gave seniors deeper discounts on prescription drugs, and made sure preventive care like mammograms are free without a co-pay. We?ve extended the life of Medicare by almost a decade. And I?ve proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the health care system and reining in insurance companies-- reforms that won?t touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Not by a single dime.
Republicans in Congress have put forward a very different plan. They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. That means that instead of being guaranteed Medicare, seniors would get a voucher to buy insurance, but it wouldn?t keep up with costs. As a result, one plan would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year for the same benefits they get now. And it would effectively end Medicare as we know it.
I think our seniors deserve better. I?m willing to work with anyone to keep improving the current system, but I refuse to do anything that undermines the basic idea of Medicare as a guarantee for seniors who get sick.
Here in America, we believe in keeping our promises-- especially to our seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work and deserve to enjoy their golden years. That?s what Medicare is all about. That?s why we need to strengthen and preserve it for future generations. And as long as I have the honor of serving as your President, that?s exactly what I?ll do.
?Right now Congressman McKeon is addressing local seniors at the Santa Clarita Senior Center about Medicare. Let?s hope he?s apologizing for voting multiple times to end Medicare as we know it. Those are strong words, but they?re true. McKeon supports a plan to replace automatic enrollment in Medicare at age 65 with a voucher that forces seniors into the private market at the mercy of private insurers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the plan McKeon voted for would cause seniors to spend $6,400 more per year out of pocket on their health care. Nearly half of America?s seniors live on less than $18,000 per year. We can?t expect seniors to be able to afford this drastic change. The reason why we started Medicare was because private insurers were taking advantage of seniors. McKeon talks about death panels, but there would be no greater death panel than a private insurer throwing up roadblocks and delays for seniors? health care. Medicare doesn?t do this.
?McKeon criticizes the Affordable Care Act for reducing Medicare costs by $716 billion over 10 years. But there are absolutely no cuts to seniors? benefits. McKeon?s criticism is disingenuous because the plan he voted for called for many of the same reductions. Much of these savings would come from reducing overpayments to private insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program. Taxpayers spend about 14% for health services when they are covered by Medicare Advantage, as opposed to traditional Medicare. McKeon supports a plan that restores these overpayments to insurers.
?The difference is that President Obama?s plan uses the savings to strengthen Medicare by closing the prescription drug donut hole and waiving co-payments for preventative services, like mammograms. The plan McKeon supports would increase costs to current seniors immediately by making them pay more for their medications and restore co-payments for preventative services. That?s not a change for people younger than 55, that?s an increased cost for beneficiaries now.
?I?m a doctor. A majority of my patients are on Medicare. I know what it?s like to suffer, waiting for private insurers to authorize services. Medicare provides needed health care to seniors who don?t have time to wait. Budgets have a lot of numbers and are confusing, but they represent priorities. McKeon?s votes indicate his priorities are to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires while seniors pay more for their health care. Instead, I will prioritize our seniors, by keeping their costs low and strengthening Medicare by reducing waste. Supporting Medicare is not a partisan issue. I call on Representative McKeon to denounce the Romney-Ryan plan to dismantle Medicare just like his Republican colleague, Congressional candidate Tony Strickland, has done in the neighboring Ventura County district.?
Even before Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan to the ticket, our Battleground polling results indicated an erosion of support for Republicans, largely based on Paul Ryan?s plans for Medicare and entitlements. The advantage Republicans held among seniors in 2010 has been completely decimated. Across these Republican districts, incumbents now hold just a two-point lead with voters over age 64-- a group Republicans won by 18 points in 2010.
Not surprisingly, the leading factor in this shift away from the GOP is Paul Ryan?s war on Medicare. By a decisive six-point margin, voters in these districts now say they trust Democrats more than Republicans when it comes to Medicare. Among voters in the 27 most competitive Republican battleground seats, Democrats now hold an 11-point advantage on Medicare.
We are in the business of predictive politics, so you?ll forgive us if we pause for a moment to say? we warned them two years ago. Immediately following the 2010 election, we offered our analysis of the ?shellacking? suffered by Democrats at the midterm ballot box. We acknowledged the wounding outcome but-- after careful analysis of our own poll results-- we saw a broader and more important message in the midterm: Democrats did not lose because voters wanted to move in the direction that Paul Ryan and the House Republicans have since tried to take the country.
Back then we wrote:There is no evidence that this was an affirmative vote for Republicans. Their standing is no higher in this year?s post-election polls than it was in 2008 and 2006. There is a lot of evidence that voters do not share Republicans? priorities, particularly on Social Security and Medicare, and voters did not mandate a consuming focus on spending cuts and deficit reduction?[the results do] not translate into a mandate for Republicans to slash spending? and squander the next two years trying to repeal health care.
We do not yet know the outcome of the 2012 election and we?re certainly not calling it now-- the Congressional ballot remains tight and there are still more than two months of tough campaigning to go. But at this moment, our latest battleground survey in the 54 most vulnerable Republican-held districts-- many of the same Republicans who ?shellacked? us in 2010-- shows that GOP incumbents are paying a heavy price for misreading the 2010 election results and overreaching on a conservative Paul Ryan agenda that voters did not mandate.
Yes, Issac could hit Tampa, head on or glancing, it could come by land or sea, and it will probably be in the air, next week, regardless of the precise track the storm takes, but looks reasonably good for now:
The Republican National Convention begins on Monday in Tampa, Florida. The latest 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gives Tampa a 17% chance of receiving tropical storm-force winds and a 1% chance of receiving hurricane-force winds on Monday. Tampa is in the NHC cone of uncertainty, though near the edge of it. At a minimum, Tampa will receive very heavy rains and wind gusts in excess of 40 mph. Isaac is going to be hard-pressed to bring hurricane-force winds to the city, though, since any path that takes it close to Tampa would keep the storm too close to land for significant intensification to occur. I put the odds of a mass evacuation being ordered for Tampa during the convention at 1%. I have detailed information on Tampa's storm surge vulnerability in a post from last week.
Everybody who cares about why science doesn?t get through to the public should read it. Basically, it is a powerful treatise on the neglected art of rhetoric, the technique mastered by Shakespeare, Lincoln, and the writers of the King James Bible.
This is really a stunner, because we now know the effects of a concussion are cumulative - having one concussion puts you at high risk of the next one being serious. So these guys are going into war already at risk of a serious head trauma:
A new military study has found that almost 6 percent of soldiers who took hand-to-hand combat courses at a Texas Army base were struck in the head and suffered symptoms the Pentagon says are consistent with concussions, also called mild traumatic brain injuries.
Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of soldiers have taken such classes ? called "combatives" ? at bases nationwide before deploying overseas.
Researchers stress that the study is relatively small, drawing from classes at Ft. Hood with just under 2,000 soldiers. And they haven't finished the study yet. But the preliminary results have sparked concern among brain specialists inside and outside the military, suggesting that some soldiers went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan having suffered mild traumatic brain injuries in training ? and might have been more vulnerable to long-term consequences from additional concussions later.
"The more hits your brain takes, the less likely it will be that you will have a full recovery," said Dr. Alex Dromerick, director of neuroscience research at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Retired Lt. Col. Michael Russell, who is leading the Army study, said he wouldn't comment on it until the final version is released.
Col. Carl Castro, the director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program, which funded the study, said the final results might dictate changes to improve safety. Castro said there is no acceptable number of concussions for a training program, if there's any way to avoid them.
"Even 1 percent of soldiers would concern me," he said. "I'd say we need to do something. We don't want soldiers getting injured while training, if we can prevent it."
Mild traumatic brain injuries have been called the "signature wound" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 244,000 such injuries, both from explosions and accidents, have been diagnosed among troops since 2000. Reports published in 2010 by ProPublica and NPR found that because of missed diagnoses and underreporting, the true figures are likely far higher.
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteThis is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.Find the past "On This Day in History" here.August 25 is the 237th day of the year (238th in leap years)[...]
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Senator Claire McCaskill (D) at a "Vets for Claire" tour event at VFW Post 7356 in Parkville, Missouri this afternoon.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) held three veterans' events today. We were able to attend a noon event in Warrensburg, Missouri and an early afternoon event at VFW Post 7356 in Parkville, Missouri (near Kansas City). In Parkville Senator McCaskill sat at a table with five veterans, surrounded by media, and spoke with them, listened to their comments, and took and answered their questions. Senator McCaskill took some time to read a lengthy list of Congressman Todd Akin's (r) House votes against veterans' issues.
After her conversation with the veterans in attendance Senator McCaskill took questions from the media outside the VFW hall.
Question: Senator, so, since we last spoke to you there have been all kinds of rumors floating out there about Congressman Akin's, uh, press conference coming up. Uh, what does that say to you? In your mind how much does this race depend on who you're running against, whether it's Todd Akin or it's someone else?
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): Well, um, you know, the, the Republican view of, uh, privatizing Medicare and taking the money they save, the expense of the Medicare system, and giving another tax cut to multimillionaires, um, privatizing Social Security. I mean, many of the views that Congressman Akin has are views held, that are held by many of, of the people in the other party. But, I think all of this speculation, frankly, doesn't do much for Missourians. [cell phone ring][inaudible] What I want to do is focus on Missourians right now and their pain and what they need. Um, this economy to get better, they want to make sure that Social Security is there for them and their kids and grandkids. Same thing with Medicare. That's what I'm focused on and I think all of the, uh, processy political stuff is probably, um, irritating to most of them.
[immediate] Question: But you go out, and you, and, and, uh, are sending out, and, uh, funding, fundraising solicitations saying we gotta get this guy...
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) (left) in conversation with veteran Lloyd Lapore (right) in Parkville, Missouri.
...Senator McCaskill: I'm sending fundraising solicitations because in, in case Missourians missed it, there's been about fifteen million dollars worth of negative advertising run um, by outside money in Missouri trashing my record and distorting my record, uh, since last October. [crosstalk]
Question: But, Senator...
Senator McCaskill: So, unfortunately, I have to raise a lot of money. I wish I didn't. [cell phone text tone] I'd love to just be doing this all day every day. Uh, this is a part of the job I love, sitting down and having real conversations with people that need real help. And that's my favorite part of the job. My least favorite part of the job is calling complete strangers and asking them to send me checks for my campaign.
Question: But, Senator, you...
Senator McCaskill: In fact, my staff, right now, wants me to leave here to go do call time [fundraising calls].
Senator McCaskill: I don't want to go do call time.
Question: Sen, sen, Senator, you complain about the process but, ye, but, but yet, you're, you're using it for that. You know, you take [crosstalk]...
Senator McCaskill: Of course.
Question: You know, so, I mean, you can't have it both ways.
Senator McCaskill: Well, I , I do, in that, um, this is the system I'm saddled with. I have to raise money from as many different places I can to try to keep up with an unprecedented flow of outside money into Missouri. And we don't even know where it's coming from. [crosstalk] Uh, these...
Question: And does Congressman Akin's decision today to remain in the race affect your ability to run this race? How does it affect it?
Senator McCaskill: Uh, I, I, don't, I think that we, um, since the day that Congressman Akin won the primary we've been working to contrast our records and make sure Missourians know where the differences are between Todd Akin and his beliefs and my beliefs. And so we've planned that campaign and we're gonna execute that campaign. And it's gonna be all about, um, student loans and veterans' benefits and Social Security and Medicare, uh, accountability, uh, being careful with taxpayers' money. And we're gonna keep doing that week after week after week for another seventy-some days and then the voters will have a chance to decide.
Question: And, and reproductive rights?
Senator McCaskill: Uh, all of it. Um, there's contrasts on many, many subjects and so that would be one of the things that we have a difference on. But, um, it's a long list of things that we have difference of opinions. Todd Akin's, um, views on many subjects are outside the mainstream. And we want to focus on all of those, um, because many of them are very important to Missouri families. And I want to make sure that while he is a pleasant and sincere man, us, his views are not pleasant, uh, for most Missouri families. And that's what I want to focus on.
Staffer: Time for one more. [crosstalk]
Question: if you had a vote would you prefer that he stay in or stay out?
Senator McCaskill: I don't have a vote. Um, the people have a vote. And the people have voted. They have voted by a very comfortable margin that, um, they want Todd Akin to represent them in this election. And so he and I will have this race, and we will discuss the differences we have, and then the people will have another vote and they'll decide whose voice they want in the United States Senate.
Staffer: Thanks everyone.
Voice: All right.
Senator McCaskill: Thanks everybody.
Question: Thanks Senator.
Voice: Uh, huh.