What’s up, doc? The ills of race-based medicine.

I know you’ll all be mightily impressed to learn that I read The Lancet [although I hardly understand any of it]. I even have a subscription – actually several subscriptions: to The Lancet, The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology and The Lancet Oncology [I have “email subscriptions” to these journals, which are free and contain lots of links to paywalled content I can’t afford to read and probably wouldn’t understand anyway]. Despite being imprisoned by the Evil Elsevier Empire, there is actually plenty of open access Lancet content available to anyone with a web browser [and delusions of scientific literacy in multiple areas of cutting-edge medical research]. Some of that content is accessible in every sense of the word, and so outstanding that you might consider becoming a regular reader of The Lancet yourself. Exhibit A comes from the current issue: a “Viewpoint” titled From race-based to race-conscious medicine: how anti-racist uprisings call us to act.*

While I would encourage you to go read the whole thing [perhaps with another browser tab open to a medical dictionary?], I just want to highlight a few…uh…highlights.

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Trump only paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017 – UPDATED.

Via New York Daily News:

Bombshell report shows Trump’s years of tax avoidance

President Trump paid just $750 in taxes in 2016 and the same sum in 2017, according to a bombshell New York Times report published Sunday.

He paid a big fat zero in income tax in 10 of the 15 previous years, the publication found.

Seems legit.

UPDATE.

From today’s New York Times email briefing:

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TAX THE EVIL.

Carl Icahn, billionaire investor, and his ilk have made hundreds of millions of dollars this year betting America’s malls would default on their loans.

WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THAT AMERICA’S MALLS WOULD BE AFFECTED BY A HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS AND DEADLY VIRUS.

Oh right: anyone. Even me! Believe it or not, I could have totally predicted that! I am a professional psychic, after all. Yet strangely, I myself have NOT made hundreds of millions of dollars recently. WTF?

And hold on…my spirit guides are now telling me…that…

…millions of retail workers across the country, who were not exactly raking in the big bucks before COVID-19 and are now unemployed, somehow did not make hundreds of millions of dollars either. Huh.

I guess we can only conclude that Carl Icahn has worked hundreds of millions of times harder than those retail workers have. Simple. That’s how capitalism works, right? American Dream! Bootstraps, and all of that!

A system that generates profits for a tiny minority of elites from the misery, misfortune, death and destruction of others is inherently evil.

Health insurance companies.

“Defense” contractors.

Slumlords.

Fossil fuel exploiters.

Hedge funders.

This is hardly a complete list. But every single one of these industries should be re-incorporated as non-profits, with excess revenues going to programs that ameliorate the damage and carnage they so casually wreak.

‘Twas Ever Thus: U.S. Women 100 Years Post-Suffrage.

Uh-oh! Must be a day that ends in Y! The New York Times is pissing me right off.*

Today’s email briefing starts with a splashy paean to the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. The 19th Amendment, which granted (some) women voting rights, was enacted on this date one hundred years ago.

The email piece naturally links to recent Times articles on women’s suffrage and related topics. As usual, their failure to connect the blazing red dots of our history – history they themselves reported – does a criminal disservice to readers. And as usual, what they don’t deliver is at least as damaging as the disinformation they do.

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Medicare for All right f***ing now motherf***ckers.

I was just trawling my Twitter feed for stuff to steal, when I came across a story I just had to retweet to @JoeBiden. You see, Mr. Biden does not support single payer healthcare, for reasons (*cough* conservative *cough* corrupt *cough*).

Here’s the story:

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I also hate The Washington Post, reason #4,208,341

Further to my earlier, exceedingly long-winded and probably pointless rant about why I detest The New York Times, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I also despise The Washington Post, and for exactly the same reasons.

I just received a “news alert” via email from The Post, and once again we find that critical information is missing, with duplicitous drivel in its place. [Read more…]

Petition: Tell ABC and Tom Llamas to apologize. UPDATED.

[CONTENT NOTE: Anti-black media reporting and anti-black violence.]

UPDATED BELOW.

via Color of Change (email):

Dear Iris,

He called the police on them for trying to get food.

ABC News anchor, Tom Llamas, in Houston to report on Hurricane Harvey, spotted Texans who had recently lost everything entering a grocery store. Instead of reporting on the desperate circumstances with compassion, he actually diverted first responder resources that could be used to save stranded families–and called the police.1

That’s right. Houstonians desperately searching for uncontaminated food and water in order to survive were not only shamed and blasted on social media, but confronted with police as they fought for their lives.

And when we asked Tom Llamas to apologize for his biased and possibly dangerous treatment of Hurricane Harvey victims; instead of owning up to it, he blocked us on Twitter.

Tell ABC News and Tom Llamas to issue an apology now!

Tom Llamas didn’t only wrongfully criminalize disaster victims– he put them in harm’s way. Local authorities recently announced that anyone found “looting” will be faced with mandatory jail time.2 And the District Attorney has escalated burglary charges all the way up to life imprisonment–of course this disproportionately affects poor and Black people who may not have had the money to purchase goods in advance, and will be on the hunt for clean water and food.3

In times of emergency and natural disaster, television news is often the only way that bystanders can ascertain what’s happening. News media has the sacred duty of framing tragedies in an honest, unbiased, and compassionate manner. Unfortunately, we saw this same dishonest and biased reporting during Hurricane Katrina, when thousands of Black families were shamed and criminalized as “looters” while trying to feed their families. Meanwhile, white families were simply characterized as searching for food. And and we know that media representations can have a profoundly negative impact on the ways that people in positions of power and privilege interact with Black people. Research has shown that negative media portrayals can engender antagonism toward people of color and lead to higher tolerance for race-based societal disparities.

Tell ABC News, Tom Llamas to apologize now!

The victims of Hurricane Harvey need compassionate and unbiased reporting in the wake of this horrific natural disaster–not criminalization and unnecessary police intervention. It’s time for Tom Llamas and ABC to stop running and apologize.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

— Brandi, Arisha, Rashad, Anika, Jade, Evan, Corina, the rest of the Color Of Change team

References:

  1. “ABC News reporter covering Hurricane Harvey gets slammed online after reporting alleged looters to police.” Business Insider, 28 August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8690?t=9&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J
  2. “In Houston, Authorities Are Toughening Penalties As Warning To Would-Be Looters.” NPR, August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8691?t=11&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J
  3. “Race and class are the biggest issues around Hurricane Harvey.” The Root, 31 August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8692?t=13&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J


Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

__________

UPDATE [h/t Alyssa Gonzalez]: If you want to know why this is so urgent and important, here’s why.

Armed Fascists Are Roaming Texas Floods Looking For Looters

Armed right-wing paramilitary groups are patrolling parts of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey under the guise of helping hurricane victims.

A group of “Proud Boys” — a men’s rights group with fascist leanings — photographed themselves wading through flooded neighborhoods with assault weapons and flashing a hand signal associated with extremist militia groups. They refer to themselves as an “anti looting patrol.”

Of course they do. And that headline should read: Armed White Men Are Roaming Texas Floods Looking For Black People To Shoot. See, starving white people are not looters by definition. They’re simply “finding food.” Starving black people? Well, not so much.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the power of YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA.

Sign the petition.

Multicellularity, male privilege and also I need $10 million.

I watched the vid of my colleagues here at FtB, Matt Herron of Fierce Roller and PZ Myers of Tentacly Overlord infamy, discussing some very cool science-y stuff about the evolution of multicellularity. One of the most interesting takeaways for me is that it had long been thought that evolving multicellularity would be an exceedingly rare and difficult jump to make. But it has been discovered, only in the last five to ten years, that this is actually relatively easy and common:

Matt (@3:51): I think there’s been sort of a natural assumption that it has to be difficult. And maybe it is difficult to evolve a complex multicellular organism, with lots and lots of cell types and tissues and maybe even organs, because that hasn’t happened very many times. But Rick Grossberg has a paper where he argues basically what we’ve found, which is that at least the initial steps towards a multicellular lifestyle really aren’t that difficult. It’s happened lots of times that we know of, at least a couple of dozen times, and probably more because in a lot of cases these things don’t leave any fossil record. It is surprising, compared to what people thought five or ten years ago, that multicellularity evolves so easily, but now we’ve seen it in several of these experiments. And in a lot of cases it happens within just a few hundred generations.

OMG cool, right?

Then they touch on the intersection of philosophy and biology, and specifically the question of what exactly constitutes an individual organism, as opposed to, say, a colony of creatures that appear to function as one. I don’t know about you, but this kind of stuff really gets my beanie spinning. I am reminded of my unfortunate encounter with a species known as Physalia physalis, a.k.a. the “floating terror,” a.k.a. the Atlantic Portuguese man o’ war, which I would henceforth (and forevermore) refer to as a “sea squirrel.” Despite its similarity in appearance to the common jellyfish—an individual multicellular organism that will also sting the everloving shit out of you if given a chance—it turns out that the Sea Squirrel™ is actually something very different:

[T]he Portuguese man o’ war is not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, which, unlike jellyfish, is not actually a single multicellular organism, but a colonial organism made up of specialized individual animals called zooids or polyps. These polyps are attached to one another and physiologically integrated to the extent that they are unable to survive independently, and therefore have to work together and function like a so-called individual animal.

Mind: blown.

These weird little fuckers are carnivorous, wielding their wickedly venomous tentacles to paralyze prey (e.g. small fish), and to inflict upon barefoot beachwalkers excruciating pain even after they are long dead (the sea squirrels, not the beachwalkers).

Detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live organism in the water and may remain potent for hours or even days after the death of the organism or the detachment of the tentacle.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention an interesting cephalopod angle here. Blanket octopuses are immune to sea squirrel venom, which is an amazing enough trick to evolve. But these cephalopods go waaaaaay beyond that: they rip the venomous tentacles right off of those critters (hopefully while mocking them mercilessly), and then they carry the tentacles around with them to wield as weapons for defensive (and possibly offensive) purposes. Now that is some serious next level shit, blanket octopuses! I mean, can you just picture that? Because I sure can!

Octopus Wielding Sea Squirrel™ Tentacles Against Douchefish.
©Iris Vander Pluym
8′ x 11′
(oil on canvas)
$10,000,000.00

But! I digress. As beanie-spinning as all of this clearly is (as evidenced by the foregoing blather), it has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this post.

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Your liberal media: scolding the lefties and normalizing Trump.

A few years ago I somehow got myself involuntarily added to the distribution list for a Washington Post email brief called PowerPost: The Daily 202 (byline: “Morning intelligence for leaders.” LOL.)

daily202

I used to scan the thing along with my other daily updates, but I rarely found content interesting enough to think about (much less write about). See, these 202 peeps are the embodiment of modern corporate “journalism” in the 21st century US of A. They seem to fancy themselves “objective”—you know, all fair-n-balanced like—which is to say they are so far up the ass of the status quo they can see Chuck Schumer’s tonsils.

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