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Unless someone can scientifically prove that vaccines cause harm, I don't believe parents have the right to put others at risk by not vaccinating their children.

#15 | Posted by bartimus at 2019-05-10 01:00 PM | Reply

You've set too low a standard here - vaccines can and do cause harm to a very tiny subset of people - like those who are allergic to their ingredients or have weakened immune systems. The question is a balance of harms - how high a risk to individuals outweighs the public good of herd immunity. We stopped mandating smallpox vaccines in the early 70s because the disease has been eradicated from the world. There was no longer a public good served by the vaccination, and the very small chance of harm, therefore, won out.

The real problem is the risks of harm from vaccines have been exaggerated beyond all proportion, including blaming them for things that are totally unrelated, while the benefits have been forgotten, because the diseases they fight have been so greatly reduced in frequency.

If you set the bar you propose, all vaccines would meet the criteria - just as almost anything we are exposed to in the world would. I can't really think of anything that doesn't meet it, to be honest.

The debate does, however, need to be based in actual science. It's ironic that those who believe Andrew Wakefield's lies say they don't trust the "vaccine" industry because they are out to make money, since Wakefield's debunked claims were linked to him trying to sell a competing vaccine.

The capacity doesn't exist yet. Right now 5% of European EV batteries are recycled. 95% go to landfills.

#18 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-04-28 09:55 AM | Reply

Where are you getting this data from? The only thing I can find supporting this is a 2017 Guardian article, based on this 2013 fact sheet, which notes the 5% number is "Based on personal correspondence with umicore on 26-27 June 2012." That's based on 2010 numbers, and it is referring to _all_ Li-Ion batteries, the majority of which are in consumer electronic devices, not cars.

In my searching, I also found that the EU has regulations as of 2006, requiring recycling of 45% of "batteries and accumulators" by September of 2016.

You might need to update your information, as this is clearly out of date - there were barely any electric cars, even in Europe, in 2010.

This opinion piece, and the "study" it is based on are suspect. For example, the opinion piece talks about Germany's "growing reliance" on coal, but everything I've seen points to Germany reducing its use of coal. For example, the Wikipedia article on the subject says:

"Germany's electrical grid is part of the Synchronous grid of Continental Europe. In 2018, Germany produced 540 TWh of electricity of which 40% was from renewable energy sources, 38% from coal, and 8% from natural gas.[6]

While nuclear power production decreased only slightly from 2013 to 2014, electricity generated from brown coal, hard coal, and gas-fired power plants significantly decreased by 3%, 9.5%, and 13.8%, respectively.[7] Germany will phase-out nuclear power by 2022. "

Reuter's had a similar article, noting coal use was decreasing. Maybe they are making the claim that night-time use of coal is increasing, but they certainly don't say that, and since wind-power tends to increase at night, I'm not sure I believe that either.

The assumption of a 10-year battery life is also a question. Both Priuses and Teslas have shown greater than 10 year useful life. Most, if not all, EV manufacturers now offer 8-year warranties, so they certainly expect there to be little degradation in 8 years. Just don't expect a long life if you live in AZ or NM and leave your car outside or in a hot garage.

The other thing about EVs, is there contribution to GHG emissions can change significantly even after they are on the road. I know of no other vehicle that has the potential to improve its emission characteristics drastically after it is already on the road. Certainly the hydrogen or methane powered vehicles this article is pushing are better for emissions than gas or diesel, but they won't get better with time.

Attempted obstruction of justice pertaining to an investigation of behavior that did not rise to criminal acts is not a crime.

#7 | Posted by Nuke_Gently at 2019-04-21 05:34 PM | Reply | Flag:

According to whom? I'd like to see the case law or the wording of the law where you get that supposed "fact" from.

Here's the actual wording of the law (from Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute"): 18 U.S.C. § 1503 defines "obstruction of justice" as an act that "corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice."

Further they state: "Someone obstructs justice when that person has a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding. For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, that person must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but that person must know (1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and (2) there must be a connection between the endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the person must have knowledge of this connection.

§ 1503 applies only to federal judicial proceedings. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1505, however, a defendant can be convicted of obstruction of justice by obstructing a pending proceeding before Congress or a federal administrative agency. A pending proceeding could include an informal investigation by an executive agency."

I don't see anything there that says there has to actually be criminal behavior under investigation, or even if the person committing the obstruction has to be the subject of the investigation. Maybe one of our resident lawyers can step in and interpret, but it seems pretty clear to me it doesn't matter whether the investigation actually found criminal behavior or not, it just has to be a "judicial proceeding", including "an informal investigation by an executive agency." If the investigation's failure to establish criminality were fatal to the claim of obstruction of justice, then as long as my obstruction were successful enough, I couldn't be charged with a crime. That would seem to be a perverse interpretation that would encourage obstruction.

There is another aspect of drug companies paying out a good dividend as it attracts more investors and the company uses its stock sales for expansion, R&D, etc.

#19 | Posted by MSgt at 2019-04-19 06:05 PM | Reply

When was the last time a drug company issued new stock? Otherwise, the stock sales don't go to the company. The value of the stock might be used to get lower rates on borrowing, but they most definitely don't add dollars to the company.

Also, as pointed out in #5, the R&D funding is in large part public funding. Drug companies spend more on marketing than they do on research. Here's one article on the topic. It's old, but the fundamental finding remains true, if not worse today. I can't watch a single show on TV today without seeing dozens of ads for medications. Here's a study in JAMA showing that, in fact, spending on marketing has grown dramatically.

I think we should go back to the times when they weren't allowed to directly advertise medications to the consumer, and should also limit marketing to doctors as well. It has only been a boon to drug company profits and not the health of the country.

Why wouldn't they just remove the automated feature that causes the plane to nosedive in the first place? Too much of an admission of liability?

#13 | Posted by JOE at 2019-03-29 09:15 AM | Reply

Because the automated feature is required to compensate for an unsafe aerodynamic design. The plane has a tendency to pitch up into a stall when it reaches a certain angle of attack (AoA). The larger engines had to be moved forward and up. Because of their placement and shape, they add lift once you go past a certain AoA. Since that lift is forward of the center of gravity, it helps pitch the nose up. This makes the plane inherently unsafe to operate without the MCAS or something similar. By regulation, passenger airliners are required to provide a steady increase in the force on the yoke as you approach an AoA leading to a stall. This aircraft does the opposite - it becomes easier to pitch into a stall past a certain point.

This plane should never be certified as airworthy so long as it requires that software to fix what is an inherently flawed aerodynamic design. I will not fly on one until they add a physical fix to prevent the pitch-up tendency.

And Sitzkrieg - this does not present as a runaway trim situation. The trim wheels will disengage the system temporarily. Added to this, the MCAS system was given far more authority than was reported to the FAA - it could activate 2.5 degrees of pitch per activation, and it would automatically reactivate 5-10 seconds after manual trim adjustment. The pilots in the first crash didn't even know such a system existed and were getting multiple contradictory indications as to what was wrong. Manual trim adjustments would work temporarily until the system reactivated and added more nose-down trim. This happened repeatedly until it was at the trim limit. In an ideal situation, the pilots would have eventually figured it out, but at a few hundred feet above the ground it isn't quite so easy to diagnose a system you don't know exists or know the behavior of. The reset behavior would have made it much harder to link to the runaway trim procedure.

I know I won't set foot on a MAX so long as it is only a software fix, and I will tell everyone I know to do the same. Boeing needs to redesign the aerodynamics to fix this, not try to cover it with software. I have no sympathy for the time or cost that will take them to do their damn jobs correctly. People's lives are at stake.

And that was done by just googling one of PEGASUS' paragraphs.

#25 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-03-26 06:08 PM | Reply | Flag:

The number range of the executive orders supposedly summarized there correspond to EOs issued by JFK, LBJ, Nixon, and Ford. However, the summaries don't seem to correspond with the actual content of those orders. I spot-checked a few here on Wikipedia:

EO 10990 Reestablishing the Federal Safety Council, an advisory and planning function, not "allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports"

EO 11051 Prescribing responsibilities of the Office of Emergency Planning in the Executive Office of the President, so it does "specif[y] the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning" but I have no idea what "gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis." means, since all EOs are in effect unless they are rescinded.

EO 11921 Adjusting emergency preparedness assignments to organizational and functional changes in Federal departments and agencies - this was issued by Ford, and it seems to modify some definitions and change which organization is responsible for creating planning for national emergencies and/or executing the emergency management of various things like the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. It doesn't seem to create any new authorities, just shifts responsibilities around from several previous orders.

I'm not sure why this is supposed to be so ominous: "EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 -- assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period." It's also wrong. It merely puts the Secretary of Commerce in charge of executing the Public Works Acceleration Act, approved September 14, 1962 (Public Law 87-658). See the complete text here.

I would seriously reconsider trusting any source that publish such easily disproven nonsense.

#13 | Posted by Sycophant, They shot their rod when the repeal of the emergency order failed. They can not stop Trump from building the wall or securing funds to do it. Thanks to the expanded power of the PATRIOT Act Obama passed.

#15 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-03-27 03:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

This has nothing to do with the PATRIOT Act, which was passed under the Bush administration. The PATRIOT Act was extended by Congress twice under the Obama administration, but again, that has nothing to do with this action.

This action is under the National Emergencies Act, which was passed in 1976 during Ford's presidency.

On the other hand, there is still many questions about whether this action is legal or constitutional. For example, it isn't clear the Act allows for the President to take funding from other activities and use it to fund something Congress considered and refused to fund. Another question is whether this truly constitutes an "emergency" as envisioned by the statute. Since it isn't explicitly defined, the court would generally look at extrinsic evidence for the intent of Congress when they passed the law.

Dodd and Franks have plenty of blame as were complicit in pressuring FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC to make sub prime loans

#21 | Posted by MSgt at 2019-03-25 06:28 PM | Reply

You do know it wasn't the sub-prime loans themselves that were the problem, right? It was the bad risk decisions on those sub-prime loans and mortgages and mortgage-backed securities that were the issue - you know, the credit default swaps and the AAA ratings on those MBSs. Had the risks been properly acknowledged, the banks wouldn't have been so heavily leveraged on those mortgages. Without so much leverage, the rise in defaults wouldn't have caused so much damage to the the banking sector.

By the way, the article you posted was an opinion piece by someone from the American Enterprise Institute. They aren't well known for placing blame on business, nor are they well known for supporting industry regulation of any type. It isn't exactly a surprise this individual would blame government regulations instead of irresponsible behavior by the banks.

Here's an interesting chart showing that the rate of sub-prime lending didn't really increase until 2004, where it jumped dramatically. The change in 1992 clearly didn't cause a large percentage of sub-prime lending. What happened in 2004 that the sub-prime lending nearly tripled and staid high until the collapse?

This paper posits that "The rise in mortgage defaults during the crisis was concentrated in the middle of the credit score distribution, and mostly attributable to real estate investors." Their numbers are very compelling.

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