Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Overnight - A roundup of news items that you might have missed

And the survey says...well over half (59%) of American physicians favor universal health care, and fewer than one third (32%) flat-out oppose the idea. In 2002, the last time such a survey was undertaken, 49% favored and 40% opposed. "Many claim to speak for physicians and represent their views. We asked doctors directly and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most doctors support national health insurance," said Dr. Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who led the study.

Truckers snarling traffic to protest fuel prices Independent owner-operators, which comprise 90% of the U.S. trucking fleet are staging slow-downs and backing up traffic to protest high fuel prices. Over the last five years, the cost of doing business for these small businessmen has doubled. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the price of a gallon of low-sulfur diesel fuel is a full $1.50 per gallon more than it was one year ago. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wants Congress to mandate a 100 percent pass-through of fuel surcharges to the drivers as well as full transparency from trucking brokers to match loads and drivers. As it sits right now, profits are being eaten up, and truckers are parking their rigs. Maybe those same folks who were flipping off the truckers on the Jersey turnpike today will be a bit more sympathetic when a pound of bananas costs the same as a gallon of diesel fuel.

More upward pressure on food prices Farmers are expected to plant 8% fewer acres of corn this year. This diminished production is expected to push corn prices, which are already trading at record levels, even higher.

Mugabe appears to be losing his grip on Zimbabwe The opposition is insisting that there are no negotiations underway for a transfer of power, and they are waiting for the official results to be released, but observers, diplomats and analysts say that negotiations are taking place. Apparently, Mugabe came in second, and a run-off election would be humiliating for the man who has been in charge for 27 years.

Time to invest in ladder futures the Department of Homeland (in)Security is waiving at least 30nrules and laws to get the border fence in place. An acquaintance I usually think of as a "batshit insane nutjob who never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like" insists that they are focussed on it so intently not so much to keep Latin Americans out as to keep us in.

Big pharma puts profits over patients...again The Senate's Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee have undertaken a months-long investigation into how data comparing results of Zocor v. Vytorin was handled by pharmaceutical giants Merck and Scherring-Plough. The Senate committee on Monday released new evidence the companies may have known long ago that research showed Vytorin was no more effective than Zocor but withheld it to pump up sales of Vytorin...Even the researcher who led a crucial study of the drug accused Vytorin's makers of withholding negative results to boost sales, the Finance committee said.

You would think that McCain would learn that he is no match for the kids in high-school who have come of age in the seven years of Bush. If you really want to assure that no republican ever holds the presidency again for fifty years, piss these kids off even more by electing the old goat. They are not stupid, they know how much their share of the national debt is, and they know he is expecting them to be the ones paying -in every possible way - for the war he wants to continue in perpetuity. No, they don't like him, and they want him, and everyone else who has screwed them over, to know it.

NASA Says Thousands Could Lose Jobs After Shuttle Program Ends More than 8,000 NASA contractor jobs in the nation's manned space program could be eliminated after the space shuttle program is shut down in 2010, the agency said Tuesday. The number of civil servants is expected to remain roughly the same, but dramatic job cuts are possible among private contractors as NASA transitions to the Constellation program, which is developing the next-generation vehicle and rockets to go to the moon and later to Mars. Constellation isn't scheduled to begin flights until 2015.

Wal-Mart wavers and will cease efforts to collect the settlement awarded to Debbie Shanks by the trucking company that owned the semi that struck her car and left her brain damaged. And that is all well and good. But I still say the original trial needs to be looked into - the attorney that represented her should have protected the interests of the family and the patient and this case should never have been an issue.

Is Mike McConnell just congenitally incapable of integrity? If he isn't speaking out of turn, he is flat-out lying, and sometimes he can't decide, so he does both. Like last week when he said, during a speech at Furman University that there were Senators who think that we don't need an intelligence community because 28 members of that body voted against retroactive immunity for telecoms. Now Senator Feingold is pissed. He wants either examples of Senators stating that we don't need an intelligence community, or he wants an apology. My husband calls him the "shame of the Air Force" and wants congress to take away his stars and retire his ass an O-3.