Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Health: Jury Finds Against Retail Pharm Chains in Opioid Case

The Story: A federal jury in Cleveland, Ohio found on Nov. 23 that the corporations that own three large pharmacy-retail chains (CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens) are liable for the damage they have done to two counties in Ohio (Lake and Trumbull) via their role in the opioid addiction epidemic. The jury verdict pertains to liability only, not to the extent...

Presidential election in Honduras

The Story: Honduras, a Central American republic, held its presidential election Sunday. It appears that Xiomara Castro, of the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) prevailed. Background: There were three significant candidates for the office. In addition to Xiomara Castro, there was Nasry Asfura, the candidate of the dominant National Party and the mayor of the capital city, and Yani Rosenthal, of the...

Science: Not all Nuclear Power Comes from the Same Plant Design

The Story: The government of the United Kingdom says that it will spend £210 million (US$283 million) to develop small modular reactors (SMRs). Specifically, it is providing the money to Rolls-Royce SMR, which is matching it with £250 million (US$336 million) of private investment. Are SMRs important for the future of energy? Significance: SMRs are easier and cheaper to build than traditional nuclear power...

A Rare House Censure for Rep. Paul Gosar (R – Ariz.)

The Story: On Wednesday, Nov. 17, The U.S. House of Representatives censured one of its members, Rep. Paul Gosar, who has represented the 4th Congressional district in Arizona since 2013. The House also deprived Gosar of his committee assignments. Background: Early this month Gosar posted on social media an anime  clip edited to put his face on the body of one of...

Science: Floods, Mudslides, and Climate Change

The Story: Last week, both sides of the U.S./Canada border along the coast of the Pacific Ocean saw very heavy rains, floods, and mudslides. This seems to most observers not to be merely unfortunate weather but to be a manifestation of climate change. Significance: The rains were caused by an "atmospheric river," that is, a huge plume of moisture extending over much...

Health: Medicare Billing Fraud in Arkansas

The Story: As November began, a federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas indicted a man in that state of sending Medicare $100 million dollars in false billings in connection with numerous diagnostic testing labs he managed. The Particulars: The accused, Billy Joe Taylor, resides in Lavaca, a small town on Arkansas' border with Oklahoma. He allegedly billed Medicare for...

Health: The Holidays and the Next Covid Wave?

The Story: As winter approaches, people live in closer quarters with one another, and breathe more indoor air. Also, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas bring families together in large groups. At this time, authorities are concerned that the United States is facing yet another wave of Covid-19 infections. Significance: The Biden administration's chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci observed on a...

A Hunger Strike for a Voting Rights bill

2018 midterms: Debunking popular voting myths
The Story: Joe Madison, a radio host with a show on Sirius XM Urban View, announced Nov. 8 that he will not eat solid food until, as he put it, "Congress passes, and President Biden signs,  the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act." Background: A hunger strike is a venerable tool of political activism. In medieval...

Science: Organic Molecules on Mars

The Story:  Curiosity Rover has found new organic molecules on Mars. These aren't the first organic molecules found on the Red Planet, but they are new on the lengthening timeline of robotic surrogates for humanity there. Significance:  Why does this matter? An "organic" molecule is a molecule that contains carbon-hydrogen bonds. All earthly life depends on carbon-hydrogen bonds. The reverse is not true....

Legislative Election in Argentina Strengthens Center-Right Coalition

The Story: Argentine voters changed the balance of power in that country's Chamber of Deputies, and in its Senate, with this Sunday's vote. Those bodies are the lower and the upper house, respectively, of the Argentine National Congress. Background: Going into the election the ruling Frente de Todos coalition held 120 seats in the lower house, nine seats short of a...