From Associate Director Carol Pollard
*Be sure to click here to read the articles I’ve collected for you. There are some really great articles listed! Enjoy!
*Congratulations to Morning Lecturer Tom Duffy on the publication of a brief perspective titled “Physician Assistance in Dying: A Subtler Slippery Slope” in the latest Hastings Center Report.
*Announcement: Please click for our 2014 Summer Institute list of students, morning lecturers, and seminar leaders. Congratulations to all!
*Announcement: we will be having a special guest speaker this summer -- Michelle Groman, JD, Associate Director of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She will be presenting on Friday night, July 13th. All are welcome to attend. More news will follow on Michelle’s presentation.
*Announcement: Our 2014 Summer Symposium already has many former students and instructors signed up to present. You still have the opportunity to sign up to present, but please let me know before April 15th. Our usual end-of-term Banquet (July 25th) will also serve as a welcoming dinner/reception for our returning students and instructors who will spend the next two days at the Symposium. I will publicize the list of presenters after April 15th. Those presenting will be gaining an e-publication, because we will have a place on our website for the papers. All past and present students and instructors are welcome to attend. Our greater Yale community will also be invited to attend.
*Caroline Bass writes: “Today, the American Medical Association offered me an internship position in their Ethics Group for the summer. I am so excited to take this opportunity and put all the things I learned last summer at Yale into practice! I can't express enough gratitude to you and the Summer Institute. My summer at Yale has opened so many doors in my education, and I will always treasure the relationships I made there. Thank you for all of your help! I also wanted to let you know that Dr. French and I are publishing an article called “The Impact of New and Emerging Technology on the Warrior’s Code.” It focuses on the need for military ethics to extend military ethics to cover drone operators and other distance warriors. I am very excited about this project, and several publishers are interested in more material!” (Congratulations to you and Dr. French! I still hope that Dr. French will be able to give a lecture on “Just War” issues during our 2015 Summer Program.)
*Steve Campbell, former Summer Program student and former and present Summer Seminar Leader, writes: “Well, I'm about to enter the world of bioethics in a serious way. Just accepted an offer for a two-year research postdoctoral position with the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy! I'm thrilled. Looking forward to seeing you in June!!” (Congratulations Steve! Yes, see you soon!)
*Matthew Riley, former and present Summer Seminar Leader, reports: “I have been hired as an ‘Online Education Specialist’ in Religion & Ecology Programs at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. We are creating a series of eight online courses in Religion and Ecology, and I will be assisting with course design and implementation.” (Congratulations Matt!)
*Jessica Hahne, 2013 Summer Program associate, will be back in July to help with organizational activities. (Wonderful news, Jessica!)
*Jennifer Chevinsky is now the Study Affinity Group Chair at the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. (Congratulations Jennifer!)
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Monday, April 7
Leitner Center Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 34 Hillhouse Ave, room 203
Speaker: Ray Fisman, Columbia Business School
Topic: The Mortality Costs of Political Connections
History of Science and Medicine Lecture
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: 333 Cedar St, room L215
Speaker: Carin Berkowitz, PhD, Associate Director, Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry, CHF
Topic: The Surgeon’s Seeing Hand: Teaching Anatomy to the Senses in Britain, 1750-1830
Wednesday, April 9
Rudd Center Seminar
Time: 12:30 PM
Location: 309 Edwards St, conf room
Speaker: Faith Boninger, PhD, Research Associate, National Education Policy Center, University of Colorado Boulder
Topic: Examining Trends in Schoolhouse Commercialism
Environmental Economics Seminar
Time: 4 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, room 321
Speaker: Josh Graff Zivin, UCSD Economics
Topic: Gray Matters - the impact of fetal exposure to air pollution on 4th grade test scores in Santiago, Chile
Friday, April 11
Climate & Energy Lecture
Time: 11 AM
Location: 380 Edwards St, classroom
Speaker: Jenny Price, Princeton University
Topic: Stop Saving the Planet! ... & Other Tips for 21st-Century Environmentalists
Time: 12 PM
Location: 135 College St, room 202
Speaker: Marieke Ridder-Wiskerke, Program Manager of the Sex Work Program, AIDS FONDS
Topic: Out is not the only way up! Economic empowerment as a health strategy for sex workers in 12 countries
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Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues Webinar: Implementing Bioethics Education across DisciplinesBack to top
Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (the Bioethics Commission) offers a series of topic-based educational modules to support bioethics education. Join us on Thursday, April 24th for a practical demonstration and discussion of how our educational modules can be applied in a variety of educational settings and disciplines. During the webinar, participants will see how the Informed Consent Background and Informed Consent in Privacy and Progress in Whole Genome Sequencing modules might be used in three different educational settings: a philosophy course, an undergraduate science course, and a law school lunch-and-learn venue. Register Here All of the Bioethics Commission’s educational materials are available for free download at www.bioethics.gov/education.
Climate Change Demands We Change. Why Aren’t We?
April 24 and 25
The New School, NYC
This, the 31st Social Research conference, is organized by the Center for Public Scholarship in collaboration with C6 (the Coalition to Confront Climate Change Challenges in Cities) at The New School in NYC. There is no issue more urgent than climate change, yet government, corporations, and the public are reluctant to change. This conference will examine the psychological factors, money and politics, and infrastructures that impede change as well as the difficult choices that must be made to foster urban resilience in the face of climate change. Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council, will deliver the keynote address, Thursday, April 24, at 6:00pm. Among the 16 other speakers are Robert Inglis, Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Founder of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative; Guy Nordenson, Structural Engineer, New York, Professor of Architecture at Princeton University, advisor to MoMA's Rising Currents; Michael Oppenheimer, Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University; and Elke Weber, Professor of International Business and Earth Institute Professor at Columbia University. newschool.edu/cps/climate-change. Conference is free and open to the public. REGISTER Social Research will publish all papers from the conference.
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Islamic Bioethics and End-of-Life Care: A Practical WorkshopBack to top
Registration is underway. Space is filling up, so reserve your seat today! CME credit is available to qualified participants, please see the registration form at the link above for more details. Brought to you by the Initiative on Islam and Medicine, TAQUA Academy and MacLean Center for Medical Ethics at The University of Chicago, this course is designed to provide participants with discussion about and answers to some of the most pressing questions concerning Islamic perspectives on brain death and non-maleficence. Moreover, participants will leave with the basic skills and knowledge necessary to evaluate end-of-life situations from within the appropriate bioethical and Islamic theological frameworks. For more details please the event page at: pmr.uchicago.edu/iim-dallas. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYU School of Medicine Faculty Position: Division of Medical Ethics
The Division of Medical Ethics in the Department of Population Health of NYU School of Medicine (http://pophealth.med.nyu.edu/divisions/medical-ethics), seeks to recruit an Assistant or early Associate Professor for a 2 year commitment beginning in July 2014. Responsibilities include: Teaching a minimum of one course per year or co-teaching with another instructor in the area of research ethics; Teaching in existing medical school courses and selectives; Mentoring one or more graduate students as requested; Working with The Division Head on organizing meetings, conferences and research projects particularly in the area of research ethics; Pursuing a line of bioethical research and inquiry in the area of research ethics that leads to both presentations at national meetings and publications in peer-reviewed journals; Creating continuing education programs in research ethics aimed at IRB members, staff and biosafety committee members; Creating a mentorship program for post-doctoral fellows in research ethics; Consultation on research ethics issues for IRBs, trial sponsors, investigators, patient groups; Develop and seek funding for research studies of IRBs, informed consent, privacy, comprehension and other key topics. Core qualifications include: Excellent record of quality scholarship and teaching including a demonstration of a strong scholarly career track in a research ethics. PhD, JD, or MD preferred. Competitive salary and comprehensive range of benefits available. Send cover letter and CV (addressed to Arthur Caplan, PhD, Director), referencing “search ethics” to: Jessica.email@example.com. NYU Langone Medical Center is an equal employment/affirmative action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital/or parental status, age, national origin, citizenship, disability, veterans status, or any other classification protected by applicable Federal, State, or Municipal Law.
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NYU M.A. in Bioethics: Life, Health, & Environment
Since its launch in 2007, the New York University Center for Bioethics has promoted a broad conception of bioethics encompassing both environmental and health ethics through conferences, workshops, public lectures, and graduate courses. Bioethics Masters students take courses from leading bioethicists as well from professors in the fields of dentistry, education, law, medicine, philosophy, public health, public service, and others. The degree consists of 32 credits composed of required core courses, a set of electives and a practicum. The core courses provide fundamental knowledge in environmental and health ethics while the elective courses allow students to specialize in their areas of interest. The culmination of the program is the practicum which provides students the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge by interning at an organization in the field of health care or the environment. The degree can be completed within a twelve-month period of two semesters and a summer session or on a part-time basis. Students may enter the program in either the fall or spring semester. There is still time to apply for fall 2014 admission! *Fall priority deadline-May 1st. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis thereafter. *Applicants may request a GRE waiver if they hold a Ph.D. or post-baccalaureate professional degree (e.g. M.D., J.D.), or if they have taken the LSAT or MCAT. Join us for our upcoming virtual information session, Monday, April 14, 2014 5:00-6:30 pm. Register at http://bioethics.as.nyu.edu/object/bioethics.events.20140414. To apply to the program, or for more information about the Bioethics Program, visit http://bioethics.as.nyu.edu/object/bioethics.dates. There are limited partial scholarships still available that will be awarded to students who possess the highest academic ability and potential. If you would like more information about the program, GRE waivers, or the application process, please contact Amanda Anjum at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to share this information with others who may be interested. Visit us at http://bioethics.as.nyu.edu/page/graduate.
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In the News
Fackler, Martin. Japan center questions stem cell breakthrough. The New York Times. 1 April 2014.
A study once hailed as a breakthrough in creating stem cells contained fabricated and doctored images that cast doubt on its findings, a Japanese research institute concluded on Tuesday in a blistering investigation into a case that has become a major embarrassment for the country’s scientific community. Continue reading...
Bland, Alastair. No-kill caviar aims to keep the treat and save the sturgeon. NPR. 30 March 2014.
Caviar was once the food of kings and czars — and for a sturgeon, it meant death. But a new technique of massaging the ripe eggs from a female sturgeon — without killing or even cutting the fish open— could make caviar more abundant, more affordable, and more accessible to all. Best of all, says Angela Köhler, the German scientist who has spent nine years developing the new production system, "no-kill caviar" — also being called "cruelty-free caviar" and "correct caviar" by the people marketing it — could help reduce demand for black market caviar and save endangered wild sturgeon from being hunted to extinction. Continue reading...
Sterling, Toby. Japan whaling future in doubt after court ruling. The Associated Press. 31 March 2014.
The future of whaling in Japan was thrown into doubt after the International Court of Justice ruled Monday that the nation's annual hunt in the Antarctic was not really for scientific purposes — as Tokyo had claimed — and ordered it halted. The ruling was a major victory for whaling opponents, as it ends for now one of the world's biggest whale hunts, for minkes in the icy Southern Ocean. Continue reading...
Spotts, Pete. Climate change to leave no one on planet ‘untouched,’ IPCC chief says. Christian Science Monitor. 31 March 2014.
The risks of global warming are already pressing upon Earth's natural systems and, to a lesser extent, humanity, and research undertaken since 2007 is yielding sober warnings about greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events; hits to farm production in many areas, especially in developing countries; and dramatic changes to ecosystems, including extensive loss of species. That assessment is contained in a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released Monday, which includes plenty of examples of global warming's already-observed effects. Continue reading...
Bland, Alastair. Should we close part of the ocean to keep fish on the plate? NPR. 2 April 2014.
For lovers of fatty tuna belly, canned albacore and swordfish kebabs, here's a question: Would you be willing to give them up for several years so that you could eat them perhaps for the rest of your life? If a new proposal to ban fishing on the open ocean were to fly, that's essentially what we might be faced with. It's an idea that might help restore the populations of several rapidly disappearing fish – like tuna, swordfish and marlin — that we, and future generations, might like to continue to have as a food source. Continue reading...
Health and Medicine
Boseley, Sarah. Bill Gates: world must step up to fight against neglected tropical diseases. The Guardian. 3 April 2014.
Bill Gates believes the world can and must step up the fight against a group of little-known and long-neglected tropical diseases, that collectively do as much damage as HIV, malaria or tuberculosis. In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the founder and former boss of Microsoft said the money has to be found, even in the current difficult economic climate, for highly effective programmes, including the mass delivery of drugs that can prevent diseases such as schistosomiasis and trachoma. Continue reading...
Goodnough, Abby. In new health care era, blessings and hurdles. The New York Times. 30 March 2014.
A critical phase for the Affordable Care Act ends on Monday, with the closing of the first enrollment period for new insurance plans offered under the landmark law. The law still faces steep challenges nationwide, not only from energized political opponents who plan to attack it until Election Day, but also from skeptical consumers who think the cost of many new plans is too high, and the choice of doctors, hospitals and prescription drugs too limited. Yet beneath the loud debate, the law is quietly starting to change the health care landscape. Continue reading...
Sturdevant, Matthew. Insurers squeezed by federal cuts to Medicare advantage. The Hartford Courant. 31 March 2014.
The health care industry is roiling over a protracted shift in Medicare policy that means insurers are paid less per person to manage federally funded Medicare Advantage health plans for millions of Americans. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed its most recent reductions in February for 2015 health plans that insurers will offer to customers next fall. Less government money for insurers squeezes company profits. Insurers can try to preserve profits in a few ways: shrinking physician networks, altering health plan benefits, or increasing out-of-pocket expenses for customers. Continue reading...
Abelson, Reed. Medicare to share information on pay for physicians. The New York Times. 2 April 2014.
Medicare said on Wednesday that it planned to make available to consumers and others detailed information on what it pays individual physicians as soon as next week, despite the long-term resistance by the American Medical Association and other groups. The information will include data on the $77 billion paid by Medicare in 2012 to more than 880,000 health care professionals for 6,000 types of services and procedures. Patient information will remain private. Continue reading...
Carey, Benedict. Mental health groups split on bill to overhaul care. The New York Times. 2 April 2014.
Lawmakers, patient advocates and the millions of Americans living with a psychiatric diagnosis agree that the nation’s mental health care system is broken, and on Thursday, Congress will hear testimony on the most ambitious overhaul plan in decades, a bill that has already stirred longstanding divisions in mental health circles. Continue reading...
Davenport, Coral. EPA faulted for failure to report risks. The New York Times. 2 April 2014.
The Environmental Protection Agency failed to consistently disclose health risks, including possible cancer risks, to research study participants who were exposed to dangerous pollutants, an agency watchdog report has found. An E.P.A. inspector general’s report released Wednesday said that when the agency exposed 81 people to soot and diesel exhaust emissions in studies in 2010 and 2011, the risks were not always consistently represented and did not include information on cancer risks associated with long-term exposure. The E.P.A. said risks associated with cancer in the study, which only briefly exposed participants to the pollutants, were so minimal that they were not included on consent forms obtained from the subjects. Continue reading...
Griggs, Brandon. Next frontier in 3-D printing: human organs. KSAT. 3 April 2014.
The emerging process of 3-D printing, which uses computer-created digital models to create real-world objects, has produced everything from toys to jewelry to food. Soon, however, 3-D printers may be spitting out something far more complex, and controversial: human organs. Continue reading...
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In the Journals
Block, Andrew R. Presurgical Psychological Screening: Understanding patients, improving outcome. American Psychological Association. 2013.
The success of many surgical procedures depends not only on the skill of the surgeon and the use of state-of-the-art technology, but also on the actions and characteristics of the patient. Patients' emotional and psychosocial concerns, health-related behaviors, outcome expectations, and compliance with treatment regimen can all strongly influence the ultimate effectiveness of surgery. Thus, mental health professionals are increasingly called upon to perform presurgical psychological screening (PPS) to ensure that patients are given the treatments most likely to be effective, while reducing the chances of worsening their conditions. Each chapter in this book examines psychosocial influences on surgery for a specific medical condition. In general, the earlier chapters represent those areas in which PPS is already in common use: organ transplantation, spinal surgery, bariatric surgery, and pain control procedures. Conditions in which PPS is being used with increasing frequency represent the next group of chapters: stem cell and bone marrow implantation, deep-brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease, surgery for temporomandibular joint disorder, reconstructive surgery, breast surgery, and gynecologic surgery. The final chapters examine conditions for which PPS is beginning to be used but has not come into wide acceptance: carpal tunnel syndrome and cosmetic surgery. Drawing on both research and clinical experience, the authors explain how to conduct PPS, communicate results to patients and surgeons, and identify possible pre- or postsurgery interventions to mitigate risk factors and maximize the likelihood of surgical success. Case studies and a discussion of bioethics are included. The Afterword suggests future directions for the field. Continue reading…
Brown, Mark. No Ethical Bypass of Moral Status in Stem Cell Research. Journal of Bioethics and Medical Ethics. July 2011.
Recent advances in reprogramming technology do not bypass the ethical challenge of embryo sacrifice. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) research has been and almost certainly will continue to be conducted within the context of embryo sacrifice. If human embryos have moral status as human beings, then participation in iPS research renders one morally complicit in their destruction; if human embryos have moral status as mere precursors of human beings, then advocacy of iPS research policy that is inhibited by embryo sacrifice concerns renders one morally complicit in avoidable harms to persons. Steps may be taken to address these complicity concerns, but in the final analysis there is no alternative to achieving clarity with respect to the moral status of the human embryo. Continue reading…
Brugger, Christian E. D. Alan Shewmon and the PCBE’s White Paper on Brain Death: Are Brain-Dead Patients Dead? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 2013.
The December 2008 White Paper (WP) on “Brain Death” published by the President’s Council on Bioethics (PCBE) reaffirmed its support for the traditional neurological criteria for human death. It spends considerable time explaining and critiquing what it takes to be the most challenging recent argument opposing the neurological criteria formulated by D. Alan Shewmon, a leading critic of the “whole brain death” standard. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate and critique the PCBE’s argument. The essay begins with a brief background on the history of the neurological criteria in the United States and on the preparation of the 2008 WP. After introducing the WP’s contents, the essay sets forth Shewmon’s challenge to the traditional neurological criteria and the PCBE’s reply to Shewmon. The essay concludes by critiquing the WP’s novel justification for reaffirming the traditional conclusion, a justification the essay finds wanting. Continue reading…
Garret, Jermey R. Marriage and the Well-Being of Children. Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. March 2013.
Children’s well-being has become the focal consideration in legal and public policy debates regarding same-sex marriage. In this article, we critically examine and rebut the central moral argument made by opponents of same-sex marriage: that the state should not license any domestic arrangement other than “traditional marriage” because doing so would be detrimental to children’s well-being. Although many have challenged the empirical premise that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than children in other arrangements, we focus primarily on the normative premises for exclusively licensing traditional (that is, monogamous, heterosexual) marriage. We argue that even if the empirical support for its claims was strong, the argument is morally insufficient for denying state recognition to other types of relationships. Importantly, we affirm the state’s vital role in promoting children’s well-being. We question, however, the approach of delegitimizing certain relationships as a means to that end. Instead, we argue, the state should encourage and support individuals who want to care for children, presume that any couple or individual is capable of adequate child-rearing, and ensure that all adults who are raising children (whether married or not) have the material resources and support necessary to be good parents. Such a policy would (1) set a reasonable minimal threshold for state recognition, (2) be vigilant in identifying cases falling below this threshold, and then (3) either assist or disqualify underperforming arrangements. It would also, appropriately, decouple arguments about legitimate and illegitimate types of relationships from arguments about what is best for children. Continue reading…
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Timmer, John. US announces new efforts to reduce methane emissions. March 30, 2014.
On Friday, the Obama administration announced that it would be making a multi-pronged assault on the emissions of methane, the primary component of natural gas. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, which means efforts to curb its release could affect the trajectory of climate change. But unlike carbon dioxide, it's also a valuable fuel and chemical feedstock. Any efforts made to capture methane before it reaches the atmosphere will be rewarded with a valuable product. Continue reading…
Johnson, Scott K. New IPCC report on climate change focuses on managing risks. March 31, 2014.
A few months ago, we covered the release of the first section of the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which dealt with the physical science of climate and climate change. After one last meeting in Yokohama, Japan, the authors of the section on climate “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” have released the final draft of their work. (One additional section will be released in just a couple of weeks, with a synthesis report and the full, official release due at the end of October.) Continue reading…
Timmer, John. Smoking restrictions having huge benefit for the next generation. March 31, 2014.
Bans on smoking in public places were justified on the basis of limiting involuntary exposure to the hazards of second-hand smoke. On some levels, this seems to have worked; in areas where bans were implemented, cardiovascular events dropped by 15 percent, while hospital admissions for respiratory problems are down by a quarter. Continue reading…
Mattise, Nathan. See the front lines of pandemic virus war — thanks to The Weather Channel? April 1, 2014.
You know the drill: Broken test tube infects patient zero, who infects everyone else, society runs amok, white-coated scientists (or the empty labs they left behind) save the day. But that’s not really the drill. If you watch Virus Hunters on The Weather Channel starting this week, you’ll learn that scientists keep the world from global outbreak in a much more thought-out (and less apocalyptic) way. Continue reading…
Editorial. Monday is the Obamacare deadline. Sort of. March 31, 2014.
Today, a one-question Obamacare quiz:
Monday (a) is or (b) isn't the final day Americans can sign up for the first year of Obamacare coverage. Continue reading…
Los Angeles Times
Editorial. Congress can’t get out of its own way on Medicare. March 27, 2014.
Maybe it was too good to be true. A rare bipartisan healthcare reform proposal backed by leaders of three major House and Senate committees is foundering because Republicans and Democrats can't agree on how to pay for it. The irony is that the measure, which would change the way Medicare reimburses doctors, would slow the growth of healthcare spending and taxpayers' costs. Lawmakers should stop the partisan bickering and start working in good faith to find a way to enact the long-overdue and much-needed reform. Continue reading…
Editorial. Climate change is here, now. Will the world act? April 1, 2014.
There's a new tone in the latest report on climate change from the United Nations' expert organization on the subject. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change doesn't just forecast the usual sweeping changes that are likely to occur as the planet warms, the kinds of warnings the public has heard (and often ignored) for decades. The report released Sunday goes further by pointing out alarming signs of what is happening already. In a rational world, it would be more than enough to propel world leaders into action. Continue reading…
Opinion. Déjá vu all over again for stem cell research. March 28, 2014.
We said it had a distinctly “too good to be true” feel about it. Now research describing a simple way of producing embryonic-like stem cells is being investigated over "inconsistencies". Continue reading…
Opinion. Front-line climate action should inspire us all. April 3, 2014.
A revolution is upon us. People around the world, from urban New York to rugged Bhutan, have started to notice real changes in their environment. As ever, it is hard to pin such local shifts on global climate change, but they are often consistent with the projections of computer models. Continue reading…
Ward, Bob. Muddled impartiality is still harming climate coverage. April 3, 2014.
A damning verdict on the BBC's coverage of climate change has just been delivered, and rightly so. Continue reading…
New York Times
Editorial. Climate Signals, Growing Louder. March 31, 2014.
Perhaps now the deniers will cease their attacks on the science of climate change, and the American public will, at last, fully accept that global warming is a danger now and an even graver threat to future generations. March 31, 2014. Continue reading…
Editorial. Measuring the Success of Health Reform. April 2, 2014.
More than seven million people have signed up for insurance on the new federal and state health exchanges, President Obama said this week. Millions more could be added to that total once insurers tally up the people who bought policies directly from them and when those who tried to apply on balky websites are able to complete the process. Continue reading…
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