Saturday Links

  • “The role of the Surgeon General is not legislative, but one of advocacy. In view of the existing empirical and scientific evidence, advocating for stronger gun control is a logical and justifiable conclusion.” – this, from The Lancet, is excellent. Dr. Vivek Murthy should be confirmed, and this shouldn’t be an issue. The only silver lining from this is that it’s increasingly clear that the NRA will eventually just flame itself out by refusing to compromise; some other more reasonable advocacy group will supplant it (in a normative world, anyway)
  • Philip Klein is right: get rid of the mortgage interest deduction! He and I come at the issue from different premises and stated preferences, but the conclusion is the same: it’s a regressive, dumb, wasteful policy
  • I viewed this headline with a lot of skepticism before I read the article, and it totally changed my mind
  • Terrifying quotes from a Kenyan counterterrorism official: “In this work you can’t go by the book.” “What do you do if no one gives you evidence?” he asked, then answering himself, “This is why there is Guantanamo Bay.” A constant reminder of how bad US ripples around the world
  • Complain all you want about the new FiveThirtyEight, but it’s analyzing decisions, admitting failure, and iterating – exactly what a nascent startup should be doing. Give it time
  • It’s laudable that policy experts are attempting to come up with ways to reduce R&D costs for the next generation of needed pharmaceuticals, but I think Uwe Reinhardt’s ever-so-slight pessimism is more on the mark: there won’t be an easy out to our cost issues, and our society – my generation – will be forced to make difficult decisions with trade-offs
  • Yes, rape culture is real
  • This is gross. Actually, it’s worse; it’s dangerous and irresponsible of Uber to allow drivers access to personal information of the riders
  • This is a long pull-quote but you should really read the whole thing:

    On my end, I’ve learned that there are times that I need to modify my own priorities and figure out with the patient what goals are achievable, at least at a given time. I’m also reminded how much more intriguing and challenging medicine is when we have the opportunity to delve in deep with a patient.

    By the “quality measures” scorecard, this patient will count as a failure on my watch, since I have not succeeded in normalizing his glucose — or his cholesterol or his blood pressure, for that matter. The objective, outcome-driven data would rate me as a better-quality doctor if diabetes fell off his radar again and he dropped out of my practice.

    Luckily for both of us, he continues to come to his appointments, and we both call that a success.


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