Morning Links

Monday, April 28th, 2008
  • New Jersey high school senior recounts the latest chapter in the textbook wars–this time, the bias is coming from the right.
  • The Bush administration continues to blatantly defy U.S. law. I’ll have more on this later, but I’m currently reading Charlie Savage’s Takeover, which is one of the scarier books I’ve read in a long time. This administration believes that when it comes to foreign policy and national security, its powers are absolutely limitless, and not subject to congressional or judicial oversight.
  • No organ transplants for medical marijuana users. Drug war hysteria at its ugliest.
  • Alex Coolman says the Argentine drug ruling from last week isn’t as big as it first seemed. Thing is, drug use is already essentially decriminalized there, particularly with “softer” drugs like marijuana. It may still be against the law, but it’s a law that’s almost never enforced.
  • The headline says that a Canadian student was given a $628 ticket for “sitting on a ledge” in a public park. But scroll down a bit, and the real reason he got the ticket becomes apparent.
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  • 20 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  pris | 

      Organ Transplant Centers have tough requirements. No use of any pain medication is one criteria. Post surgery is a tough time and if someone is using pain med prior to the transplant- it may be very difficult to find sufficient post transplant pain meds. I assume that medical marijuana falls under this criteria.

      There is a scarcity of organs for transplant use. Centers want the best outcomes so they develop tough criteria. Transplant surgery is difficult- you exchange one problem for another.

      No easy answers. Allocation is difficult as I said.

    2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

      That Canadian student got off way too easy. Sitting in the park, indeed. Who the hell does he think he is? They are so lax on crime up there. Cops in the U.S. would have tased the kid into unconsciousness and thrown him in jail for obstruction of justice.

    3. #3 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #1 pris
      There is a scarcity of organs for transplant use.

      And therein lies the root of the problem.

    4. #4 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

      The high school kid writes very well. At least his communication and written skills have not suffered at his school.

      Take a photo, got to jail. Lovely. Stalin is smiling.

    5. #5 |  Tom | 

      Cops don’t like cameras. Unless THEY are spying on YOU. They don’t want to be held accountable.

    6. #6 |  MacK | 

      “Don’t photograph me bro”

    7. #7 |  Tokin42 | 

      I hate to quibble but that CIA story doesn’t really tell us anything. There isn’t anything in there to suggest the Admin or the CIA is breaking any U.S. law. Also, since the justice dept letters in question were obtained through congressional oversight the reality seems to be quite different than your take radley.

    8. #8 |  Danno49 | 

      All I can say is thank God I don’t live in Canada! At least we don’t have petty abuses by our law enforc- um, wait . . . never mind.

    9. #9 |  Dave Krueger | 

      Regarding the Administration’s attitude about torture, I personally think I would be equally unhappy being tortured for legitimate national security reasons as I would be if it were just for the sake of humiliation. In any case, I don’t have much faith in the decision-making skills of those who get to make the distinction.

    10. #10 |  buzz | 

      I have the same point as Tokin42. I see the potential to violate a treaty, but I dont see anything about the actual current breaking of the geneva convention in this article, much less anything about breaking us law.

      “I personally think I would be equally unhappy being tortured for legitimate national security reasons as I would be if it were just for the sake of humiliation. In any case, I don’t have much faith in the decision-making skills of those who get to make the distinction.”

      Well, if we are speaking theoretically, I doubt that a terrorist who has the ‘ticking’ bomb would be any happier than someone waterboarded for the amusement of the person doing the waterboarding. I would imagine the decision making skills wouldn’t have to be too terribly intricate. One one side you have someone who has set plans in motion that will kill people, and the other side you have someone who is bored and looking to kill some time.

      While I can think of any number of good reasons not to torture people, the idea that the person tortured might not be happy is pretty much a given.

    11. #11 |  David | 

      I don’t mean to minimize the stupidity of the kid getting arrested, but this nugget from the article made me smirk.

      Jones said he was compelled to show ID and was handed the $628 ticket – a sum he can ill afford, because student loans from the British Columbia government saddle him with almost $30,000 in debt.

      Does the BC gov’t force students to take out loans?

    12. #12 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #10 buzz
      …Well, if we are speaking theoretically, I doubt that a terrorist who has the ‘ticking’ bomb would be any happier than someone waterboarded for the amusement of the person doing the waterboarding. I would imagine the decision making skills wouldn’t have to be too terribly intricate.

      I personally don’t give a rip what happens to the guy who really has a ticking bomb, but I pity all those poor folks who the government speculates might have one, but don’t.

    13. #13 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

      Student wining about his textbook – Actally global warming is still a hotly divided area of research.

      Sitting on the ledge – Respect mah authorith!!!!!

      Pris – I don’t know why you think you can’t take pain medication before a transplant? Of course you can! The various maladies associated with end stage liver failure are very painful. It sounds like to me that the transplant committee is making a political judgement and not a medical one.

    14. #14 |  pris | 

      My patients are applicants for bilateral lung transplants- Transplant centers will not accept people who are on pain medication. They must be weaned from the medication before they are accepted into the transplant program. I have been told this is a nationwide policy.

    15. #15 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

      Pris – I am a liver transplant recipient and was on many heavy duty pain meds before transplant. It sounds like a local policy or maybe something just for lung patients.

    16. #16 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      I’m only partially convinced by NJ student’s essay. The purpose of the piece is to complain about bias in a text book, so I find it out that he starts off by nearly half the article to relate an anecdote which, why certainly horrifying, is completely unrelated to the text book in question. It’s purpose seems purely to incense the reader so that the second half of the essay will be responded too emotionally rather than rationally.

      Now the textbook in question may be biased, but the only significant quote he provides from it, “It is a foolish politician who today opposes environmentalism. And that creates a problem because not all environmental issues are equally deserving of support. Take the case of global warming” doesn’t seem particularly heinous to me. Beyond that, all we get is individual words in scare quotes.

      I was also bothered by his attempted well poisoning (“James Q. Wilson, a well-known conservative academic, and John J. DiIulio, a political scientist and former head of President Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives”). So convservatives are categorically not permitted to write textbooks? Meanwhile, a group that includes explicitly political organizations like Friends of the Earth and People for the American Way is a valid judge of educational suitability?

      Again, the textbook may be bad, but that’s not a judgement I’m willing to make purely on this student’s arguement.

    17. #17 |  mlang52 | 

      Seeing the refusal of pain medication, appropriately, to post operative transplant patients, makes me think that those surgeons are into torture, too. I can see restricting acetomenophen and NSAIDS to kidney and liver transplant patients because of their toxicity to the same organs. (I understand the explanation about the aspergillosis risk with smoking, anything) But, not using opiods, some of the safest medications in use, is unbelievable! In the 80’s, when I was a general surgery resident, (I did six renaltransplants, during that rotation), I could never think of refusing to treat a patient’s post-op pain! It is utterly rediculous to refuse based on those grounds!

      And, pain is the most undertreated medical problem in this country and ignorance like this will just make it even worse! Addiction among chronic pain patients is also minimal in most studies (less that 1%). The decision to use these drugs or even THC as a reason not to transplant, is just really strange, to me! The toxicity levels of those drugs don’t even approach the toxicity of the anti-rejection drugs. Arrogance or ignorance, take your choice! I don’t understand it at all!

    18. #18 |  nom de guerre | 

      micheal crichton, before he got all writer-y, was a harvard med student. he wrote a book about his doctoring experiences, and in it, he detailed several instances of docs exhibiting genuine sadism upon problem patients. oregon revoked a doc’s med license after 30 *years* of the guy treating terminal cancer patients’ ungodly pain with….aspirin.

      mix that in with DEA assholishness, and you’ve got a lot of untreated pain going around.

      “first, do no harm.” then, bitch about whiny patients. i think docs need to change their mindset: docs refer to a patient telling them their symptoms as a “complaint”. (“patient complains of allegedly unbearable pain”.)

      that tells you something right there.

    19. #19 |  Les | 

      Now the textbook in question may be biased, but the only significant quote he provides from it, “It is a foolish politician who today opposes environmentalism. And that creates a problem because not all environmental issues are equally deserving of support. Take the case of global warming” doesn’t seem particularly heinous to me. Beyond that, all we get is individual words in scare quotes.

      Actually, he quotes a section on prayer in the public schools and a caption under a picture.

      “In this edition of the text, the authors drive the point home with a photograph of students holding hands and praying outside a school. The caption reads: ‘The Supreme Court will not let this happen inside a public school.'”

      Which is fairly damning, considering how ridiculously false that is.

    20. #20 |  Robert S | 

      Regarding the organ transplants: I’ve registered as an eligable organ doner for as long as I’ve carried a drivers license. That’s getting revoked – and Dr. Sade will be getting a piece of my mind instead.

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