Suppose two jumbo jets crashed every day, killing a total of about 365,000 people in a year. Remarkably enough that's about the level of carnage caused every year in our country by avoidable medical mistakes.
We would never tolerate such an incredible loss of life were it caused by recurring plane crashes (or most anything else). The Federal Aviation Authority would be given immediate and unlimited funding to figure out exactly why the planes were crashing and to do whatever it takes to make them safe again.
In fact, complete reporting of mistakes, and constantly correcting them, has made flying in a commercial plane about the safest thing a person can ever do.
In contrast, and inexplicably, we tolerate an equivalent loss of life caused by medical mistakes, despite the fact that they have become the third leading cause of death in the US. There is no public fear and rage, no sustained and coordinated effort to identify the major sources of error and eliminate them. read more
Matt Taibbi: Keeping up with Trump revelations is exhausting. By late October, he'll be caught whacking it outside a nunnery. There are not many places left for this thing to go that don't involve kids or cannibalism. We wait, miserably, for the dong shot.
Trump's early rampage through the Republican field made literary sense. It was classic farce. He was the lewd, unwelcome guest who horrified priggish, decent society, a theme that has mesmerized audiences for centuries...
The party spent 50 years preaching rich people bromides like "trickle-down economics" and "picking yourself up by your bootstraps" as solutions to the growing alienation and financial privation of the ordinary voter. In place of jobs, exported overseas by the millions by their financial backers, Republicans glibly offered the flag, Jesus and Willie Horton. read more
NPR is making an announcement today that is sure to upset a loyal core of its audience, those who comment online at NPR.org (including those who comment on this blog). As of Aug. 23, online comments, a feature of the site since 2008, will be disabled. With the change, NPR joins a long list of other news organizations choosing to move conversations about its journalism off its own site and instead rely on social media to pick up the slack. ... A user named Mary, from Raleigh, N.C., wrote to implore: "Remove the comments section from your articles. The rude, hateful, racist, judgmental comments far outweigh those who may want to engage in some intelligent sideline conversation about the actual subject of the article. I am appalled at the amount of 'free hate' that is found on a website that represents honest and unbiased reporting such as NPR." read more
David Ignatius, Washington Post: Job insecurity is a central theme of the 2016 campaign, fueling popular anger about trade deals and immigration. But economists warn that much bigger job losses are ahead in the United States -- driven not by foreign competition but by advancing technology. A look at the numbers suggests that the country is having the wrong economic debate this year. Employment security won't come from renegotiating trade deals, as Donald Trump said in a speech Monday in Detroit, or rebuilding infrastructure, as Hillary Clinton argued in Warren, Michigan, on Thursday. These are palliatives. The deeper problem facing the United States is how to provide meaningful work and good wages for the tens of millions of truck drivers, accountants, factory workers and office clerks whose jobs will disappear in coming years because of robots, driverless vehicles and "machine learning" systems. read more
The Veterans Health Administration has improved the quality of and access to health care for vets over the past two years, but the agency's continuing struggle with hiring and retaining employees is undermining its mission, according to a newly-released report from an outside organization.
"Staffing shortages significantly impacted the organization's ability to meet veterans' needs and led to delays in care," said a Joint Commission survey of 139 VHA facilities and 47 community-based outpatient clinics between October 2014 and September 2015.
The Joint Commission, which is a widely-respected independent non-profit that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the country, began conducting surprise surveys of the facilities soon after the 2014 scandal erupted in Phoenix involving patient wait times and access to care. read more