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April 01, 2009

New York Times investigation finds that "independent" doctors routinely lie to benefit insurance companies

A World of Hurt - Doctor Fights Doctor, Putting Workers’ Injuries in Dispute - Series - NYTimes.com

The independent exams are designed to flush out workers who exaggerate injuries or get unnecessary care, and there is no question that some of that goes on. As a check on what a worker’s doctor determines, insurers are allowed to order an ostensibly neutral exam by a doctor they select and pay for. They do so regularly, with more than 100,000 exams conducted each year.

But a New York Times review of case files and medical records and interviews with participants indicate that the exam reports are routinely tilted to benefit insurers by minimizing or dismissing injuries.

“You go in and sit there for a few minutes — and out comes a six-page detailed exam that he never did,” said Dr. Stephen M. Levin, co-director of the occupational and environmental medicine unit at Mount Sinai Medical Center, who has been picked as the interim medical director at the compensation board. “There are some noble things you can do in medicine without treating. This ain’t one of them.”

Bush DoJ fucked up Sen. Stevens case, he will walk

U.S. Seeks to Drop Case Against Former Sen. Stevens - washingtonpost.com
The Justice Department filed court papers this morning asking a federal judge to toss out the conviction of former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on corruption charges. The move comes as a federal judge was preparing to conduct hearings to probe allegations of prosecutorial misconduct by the team that tried one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress. Stevens, 85, was convicted in October on seven counts of making false statements on financial disclosure forms to hide about $250,000 in gifts and free renovations to his Alaska home. Stevens's attorneys have urged U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to drop the case and prevent prosecutors from seeking to retry the former senator, who lost a reelection bid about a week after his guilty verdict. They have argued that prosecutors with the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section withheld key pieces of evidence and mishandled witnesses. During the trial, Sullivan chastised prosecutors several times for such errors. More recently, the Justice Department was forced to disclose a memo written by an FBI agent who complained of the same things. Sullivan recently held several prosecutors in contempt for failing to comply with a court order. Six members of that prosecution team then withdrew from the case in matters dealing with allegations of misconduct.

March 27, 2009

ABC tests New Jersey's homophobia

Who Woulda Thunk: ABC Show Addresses Homophobia in NJ Bar - Feministing

This is so ridiculous. ABC hired actors to be affectionate in a Jersey sports bar and also a guy to be a dick to them. Then they sit back and watch to see what happens. Generally, everyone hates on the dickhead troll.

It's unexpectedly positive, but still feels stupid.

Overwhelmingly, the real patrons showed intolerance for snide remarks like his, even as the gay couple escalated their touching and affection.

"I would rather have 12 of you than four of him," said one man apologetically to the couple.

"Seriously, this is not your [expletive] bar!" yelled an emotional woman to one harasser, in defense of the gay couple.

Chomsky on Geithner - Bush recycled

The Real News Network - Chomsky on Geithner
Noam Chomsky speaks to Paul Jay on the Obama - Geithner plan. Chomsky says that "they're simply recycling, the Bush-Paulson measures and changing them a little, but essentially the same idea: keep the institutional structure the same, try to kind of pass things up, bribe the banks and investors to help out, but avoid the measures that might get to the heart of the problem."

Ooops, turns out our science on giving kids speed for hyperactivity and attention was utter shit

Enjoy life as speed addicts, you shrunken little junkies. Study reignites debate over drugs for hyperactive youths | Chronicle | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
One principal scientist in the study, psychologist William Pelham, said that the most obvious interpretation of the data is that the medications are useful in the short term but ineffective over longer periods, but his colleagues had repeatedly sought to explain away evidence that challenged the long-term usefulness of medication. When their explanations failed to hold up, they reached for new ones, Pelham said. “The stance the group took in the first paper was so strong that the people are embarrassed to say they were wrong and we led the whole field astray,” said Pelham, of the University at Buffalo. Pelham noted that the drugs, including Adderall and Concerta, are among the medications most frequently prescribed for American children, adding, “If 5 percent of families in the country are giving a medication to their children and they don’t realize it does not have long-term benefits but might have long term risks, why should they not be told?”