Daily Bread for 3.13.18

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny and thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:08 AM and sunset 6:59 PM, for 11h 51m 05s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 14.8% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred eighty-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM, her Police and Fire Commission at 6:30 PM, and there is a scheduled special Common Council meeting at 7 PM.

On this day in 1781, William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus, which he names ‘Georgium Sidus,’ in honor of King George III. On this day in 1862, the Battle of New Madrid, Missouri, ends: “After 10 days of shelling, Confederate troops evacuated New Madrid, Missouri. They retreated to Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River and fortifications on the eastern bank at Tiptonville, Tennessee. The 8th and 15th Wisconsin Infantry regiments and the 5th, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Light Artillery batteries fought in this battle.”

Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Jeremy Stahl contends The White House Is Already Walking Back the North Korea Summit. Because It Was a PR Stunt:

By Friday afternoon, the press quietly learned that “for now” should be considered a major caveat for this White House. Press secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly told reporters that the meeting would not take place without “concrete actions” from North Korea. When pressed on what that would look like, Sanders said they would have to denuclearize.

Sanders: The understanding, the message from the South Korean delegation is that they would denuclearize. And that is what our ultimate goal has always been, and that will have to be part of the actions that we see them take.

Reporter: Is that before or after the meeting?

 Sanders: We’d have to see concrete and verifiable actions take place.

Reporter: Before the meeting?

Sanders: Yes. Yeah.

So the meeting—agreed to by Trump to take place by May—won’t take place until North Korea shows verifiable and concrete proof that it is doing the thing that it has promised to do on repeated occasions and never done.

Sanders was pressed further on what those concrete steps might look like. “That’s something that is going to be determined by the intelligence community, the national security team, and not something that I would relay from the podium to all of you,” she said. Of course, there is a system in place in Iran for determining that a rogue regime is not building a nuclear arsenal—a system the current president has repeatedly rebuked and threatened to undo—so it’s entirely possible to publicly outline such concrete steps.

➤ Meagan Flynn reports ICE spokesman resigns, citing fabrications by agency chief, Sessions, about Calif. immigrant arrests:

The now-former spokesman, James Schwab, told news outlets late Monday that his resignation stemmed from statements by Homan and Sessions that potentially hundreds of “criminal aliens” evaded ICE during a Northern California raid in February because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned the immigrant community in advance.

Schwab said he pushed back on that characterization  — but said ICE instructed him to “deflect” questions from the press.

“I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle, which broke the story. “I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.”

ICE officials and Sessions — and at one point President Trump — criticized Schaaf for tipping off immigrants about the raid, which netted 232 suspected undocumented immigrants.

Homan said in a statement that “864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor’s irresponsible decision. Unlike the politicians who attempt to undermine ICE’s critical mission, our officers will continue to fulfill their sworn duty to protect public safety.”

➤ Keith Humphreys reports The government has been undercounting opioid overdose deaths up to 35 percent, study says:

Federal government estimates of opioid overdose deaths have been rising year after horrifying year. But the crisis is even worse than it looks: A new study reveals that the government has been undercounting opioid overdose deaths by 20 percent to 35 percent.

To estimate national trends in opioid overdose, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aggregates data from more than 3,000 coroner’s offices around the country. Coroners function independently and vary widely in their available resources and reporting practices. University of Virginia professor Christopher Ruhm noticed that many coroners did not record a specific drug when documenting a fatal overdose, implying that many opioid overdose deaths were not being counted in official figures.

By studying the records of coroners who did record specific drugs for overdose deaths, Ruhm was able to impute a corrected count of opioid overdoses. According to Ruhm’s research, if all coroners accurately reported opioid overdose deaths, official counts would be substantially higher. For example, the CDC figure for 2016 was 42,249 opioid overdose deaths nationwide, but with accurate data the count would have been 49,562, Ruhm said.

➤ Alex Smith reports Opioids Don’t Beat Other Medications For Chronic Pain:

For many people who live with chronic pain, opioids can seem like the difference between a full life or one lived in agony. Over the past few decades, they have become go-to drugs for acute pain, but Dr. Erin Krebs, with the Minneapolis Veteran’s Administration Health Care System and the University of Minnesota, says the science about the effectiveness of opioids for chronic, or long-term, pain has been lacking.

“The studies that we had out there were short-term studies and mostly compared opioids to placebo medications,” she says. “From those studies, we knew that opioids can improve pain a little bit more than a placebo, or sugar pill, in the short term, but that’s all we knew.”

But Krebs is changing that. She is the author of a new study that looks at the effectiveness of opioids for treating chronic pain over 12 months, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study involved 240 veterans with chronic back pain or pain from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. They also all had pain that was ongoing and intense. Half were treated with opioids and half with nonopioid medications — either common over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen or naproxen, or prescription drugs like topical lidocaine or meloxicam.

➤ So what are Cosmic Bow Shocks?

2 thoughts on “Daily Bread for 3.13.18

  1. The devolution continues…

    The Trump “administration” is getting a bit frayed. Rex got “ex-ed” last night. Tillerson did have occasional flashes of lucidity, between naps, such as when he called Trump out as a “fking moron”, but he was pretty awful at his job. He will be replaced by an all-in Trump-toady, Mike Pompeo. We’ll see how that works out. Pompeo was replaced at CIA with Gina Haspel, who has been at CIA forever. She had a brief bout with fame for running a “black” interrogation site in Thailand during the second Bush admin. The site featured various kinds of torture, such as waterboarding and slamming prisoner heads into concrete walls. The tapes of the interrogations were ordered destroyed by Bush, though, before congress could get hold of them.

    Trump has reportedly selected Larry Kudlow to replace Cohn as chief economic advisor. Kudlow, like Ben Stein, isn’t really an economist (he has a BA in history), but he does play one on TV. He is an unabashed Art Laffer disciple, and sucker of the supply-side teat.

    Kudlow does have a stainless-steel nose with no remaining septum and a bore like a howitzer. According to Wikipedia, he once sported a $100,000/mo. cocaine habit. Let’s break that down. Street price for cocaine is around $100/gram. So, if he was scoring off a street-corner, he was doing a kilo of blow a month, or around 32 grams/day. Realistically, if you are honking at Kudlow’s rate, you buy in bulk. Cocaine by the kilogram is worth about $20,000/kilo. So, assuming that an economist would try to get the best deal, he was doing 5 kilo/month. That is 10 lb. of coke a month, which is a prodigious amount of marching powders! The dude had to be cutting out lines with a road grader and Hoovering them up with a straw the size of a sewer pipe. I bet he got a lot done, though…

    Only the best people…..

    1. Credit where credit is due: as low as Trump’s appointees are, when they quit or get fired, somehow Trump finds even worse people to replace them. We’re a big country, but even among hundreds of millions, Trump has a knack for finding denizens of the lowest tier of competency, judgment, and ethics. Worse than Tillerson? Yes, and Trump found him. That’s world-class searching.

      When principled people complain about Haspel, and of course they should, Fox will say: ‘See, these snowflakes are too weak, etc.’ A weed to the civilized is a bouquet to Trump.

      Larry Kudlow – honest to goodness, you’ve said it all. Indeed, I’ve an image in my mind’s eye from your description that Kudlow earned. I’ve heard him speak countless times, and he has a fast-talking, self-assured manner that one only hears from the utterly nutty or the chemically impaired. I’m opposed the the Drug War, but there should be at least one exception to most rules… One hopes he’s sober now, of course, but he might do even worse economic damage if he truly and coldly believes what he says.

      Never a dull moment…

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