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February 21, 2006

Things I thought about commenting on, but then was too lazy

Starbucks is too gay-friendly for Bob Jones University. I guess pulling the Maupin quote isn't good enough.

RadioShack's CEO actually lied about haveing a Bachelor's degree (from a Bible college), then lied when he said it was only a theology degree and not a Bachelor's degree. He's also standing trial for his third DWI. But I hope no one plans to sue for securities fraud, because, as we all know, investors don't find this kind of information to be material.

Whee!!

I assume this is a result of Bush's historic meeting with Piers Anthony. Earlier: Bush's education from Michael Crichton.

Hell, I think it's plausible. I mean, what hasn't the administration screwed up?

The L.A. Times has a big article about Bush's efforts to protect industry through federal preemption. This is a subject I've previously addressed here, here, and here. I got no new snark.

This Wall Street Journal op ed is not a parody:  (illegally excerpted for those without paid subscriptions:

Witch Hunt
By Thomas P. Stossel

"The belief that there are such things as witches is so essential a part of the faith that obstinately to maintain the opposite opinion manifestly savors of heresy." So begins "Malleus Maleficarum" ("The Hammer of Witches"), a book commissioned by Pope Innocent VIII and published in 1484. For three centuries "The Hammer" was the principal reference for witch hunters determined to punish sorcerers and rid them of the world.

A no less sweeping manifesto recently appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It called for total extermination of contemporary witchery -- "financial conflicts of interest" -- caused by the malign influence of pharmaceutical and device manufacturers in academic health centers. It argues that these companies pervert altruism, misinform physician education and cause breaches of scientific integrity in medical research.

Although separated by over 500 years, these two recipes for societal improvement have striking similarities. Both address an imperfect world beset with pain, want and disease. And both highly value appearances in defining good and bad behavior. The church saw witches as moral deviants. The sponsor of the JAMA article, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, espouses "professionalism" and "just distribution of finite resources" and also judges its witches, financial conflicts of interest, as immoral. The ABIM Foundation, like the medieval church, liberally taxes without consent to fund its crusade against "profit-seeking in medicine." The churches tithed; the ABIM Foundation is a derivative of the ABIM, which charges physicians large fees for examinations it administers for compulsory certification to practice. The foundation now has an endowment approaching $60 million.

In their zeal, both "The Hammer" and the JAMA cited scripture selectively. "The Hammer" trolled the Bible and ecclesiastical works for references to support the existence of witches and witchcraft, which remained uncontested until the retraction of anti-witch doctrines centuries later. The JAMA article baldly states that "a systematic review of the medical literature on [industry] gifting . . . found that an overwhelming majority of [commercial] interactions had negative results on patient care," although the source it cites explicitly says: "No study used patient outcome measures." The JAMA piece reminds us that industry marketing influences the prescribing habits of physicians. But it repeatedly neglects documented evidence that physicians frequently fail to prescribe appropriate drugs according to evidence-based guidelines for nearly all diseases.

The witch hunters of "The Hammer" and of the JAMA paper propose extreme remedies that promise great but practically unattainable rewards. "The Hammer" recommended torture to elicit confessions from witches and severe punishments following conviction. The JAMA authors want all commercial contributions removed from academic health centers -- education grants, gifts of any size to physicians, meals during conferences and free drug samples.

I'll leave it there.

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Re .." The ABIM Foundation, like the medieval church, liberally taxes without consent to fund its crusade against "profit-seeking in medicine." The churches tithed; the ABIM Foundation is a derivative of the ABIM, which charges physicians large fees for examinations it administers for compulsory certification to practice. The foundation now has an endowment approaching $60 million.."
Q: don't the "bestowers of gifts", etc usually provide the courses to the physicians that make it possible for them to get the (re)certifications necessary to their practice? Somehow it seems to me that the ABIMFnd is biting the hand that feeds its mother... ^..^

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