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Click and Clack Ending New “Car Talk” Broadcasts

So NPR will be losing the Magliozzi boys’ new programs every week… but let’s hear it from them:

RAY:  Hey, you guys.  My brother has always said, “Don’t be afraid of work.”

TOM:  Right.  Make work afraid of YOU!

RAY:  And he’s done such a good job at it, that work has avoided him all his life.

TOM:  And with Car Talk celebrating its 25th anniversary on NPR this fall (35th year overall, including our local years at WBUR)…

RAY:  …and my brother turning over the birthday odometer to 75, we’ve decided that it’s time to stop and smell the cappuccino.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi of “Car Talk”

TOM:  So as of October, we’re not going to be recording any more new shows.   That’s right, we’re retiring.

RAY:  So, we can finally answer the question, if my brother retired, how would he know?

TOM:  The good news is that, despite our general incompetence, we actually remembered to hit the “record” button every week for the last 25 years.  So we have more than 1,200 programs we’re going to dig into starting this fall, and the series will continue.

RAY:  Every week, starting in October, NPR will broadcast a newly assembled Car Talk show, selected from the best material in our archives.

TOM:  Sorry, detractors, we’re still going to be on the air!

Goodbye guys… take it from me, everyone has to retire sometime.

Did you see this article? This is why the Republican right scares the s#%t out of me…

From Think Progress:

Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants To Outlaw Use Of Human Fetuses In Production Of Food

By Adam Peck on Jan 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Oklahoma State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R)

Oklahoma GOP State Senator Ralph Shortey is on a mission to finally put an end to his state’s allegedly rampant cannibalism problem. Alarmed after his own research, which consisted of reading a nameless report stating that companies have used stem cells in the production of food, Shortey introduced a bill that would prohibit the manufacturing and sale of food “which contains aborted human fetuses.”

Shortey explained his reasoning to local radio station News Talk Radio KRMG in Tulsa:

There is a potential that there are companies that are using aborted human babies in their research and development of basically enhancing flavor for artificial flavors.

Shortey was unable to provide any specific examples of the problem he’s trying to curb, and admits that it’s possible there aren’t any human fetuses in Oklahoma’s food. “I don’t know if it is happening in Oklahoma, it may be, it may not be,” he said.

NPR suggests Shortey may have caught wind of a boycott waged against PepsiCo and others last year after they contracted with the San Diego research and development company Senomyx, which employed the use of stem cells in their research. But the cell line in question dates to the 1970s, and can be traced back to human embryonic kidney cells, a far cry from Shortey’s claim of human fetuses.

 

And there are people who believe this stuff! The wavin’ wheat may sure smell sweet in Oklahoma, but the politics stinks.

Another C-SPAN Morning, and a very unhappy vote…

I’m watching the vote as the Republican majority votes on debate rules to defund National Public Radio. So far all Republicans are voting to cut the funds and all Democrats are voting to save the funding. If it keeps up like this, NPR has no chance.

C-SPAN is taking in phone calls during the vote, alternating between Democrats and Republicans, and the trend among callers of both parties is that NPR should keep its funding. Oh, there are a few who are supporting it because they claim it’s the government telling people what to watch (where they get that from, I don’t know.)

There us a predominance of callers from small towns and farm areas who realize that NPR and PBS allow broadcasts of unbiased news that they certainly don’t get from commercial stations. They are not looking forward to the cuts… however, the funding from the government is very small and NPR will work very hard in their other fundraising channels (like you and me).

I don’t know when they are having the final debate (they are apparently going to debate troops in Afghanistan next.) But I don’t hold out a lot of hope.

So what happens when Corporations control things? Say, in preventing premature births…

There is a new product out called Makena (Ma – Kee – na) which prevents pre-term labor in women who are prone to premature birth. The drug is a form of progesterone, and, for years, has been available to doctors from special compounding pharmacies at a patient cost of $10. to $20. a shot. And it has been pretty effective.

But things can change… and sometimes the change is devastating.

After years of exploration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in association with The March Of Dimes carried out their program of tests and finally issued their support for the drug. Since it is FDA approved, the drug could be signed to a major manufacturer, in this case KV Pharmaceutical of suburban St.Louis, who won government approval to exclusively sell the drug. That means compounding pharmacists can no longer make Makena (or any similar progesterone) for doctors. So what is wrong with that?

KY has increased the cost per required weekly injection from $10. to $1500.

Nope. That wasn’t a typo. KY has increased the price 150 times, causing a rage among both doctors and patients. Dr. Roger Snow, deputy medical director for Massachusetts’ Medicaid program commented on the price change:

“That’s a huge increase for something that can’t be costing them that much to make. For crying out loud, this is about making money.”

NPR has cited some other doctors at major organizations:

“I’ve never seen anything as outrageous as this,” said Dr. Arnold Cohen, an obstetrician at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

“I’m breathless,” said Dr. Joanne Armstrong, the head of women’s health for Aetna, the Hartford-based national health insurer.

The thing that concerns doctors the most is that the cost is going to prevent middle and lower-class women from taking Makena, causing an increase in premature births which the standard progesterone compounds have caused to go down.

KY says the cost is justified to avoid mental and physical problems that come with premature births…a premie can add $51,000 in unexpected medical costs to new parents. This is according to KV Pharmaceutical chief executive Gregory J. Divis Jr.:

“Makena can help offset some of those costs. These moms deserve the opportunity to have the benefits of an FDA-approved Makena.”

The FDA plays no part in setting the price for any drug. KY has hired a marketing company to promote it and is supposedly setting up a patient assistance program to help uninsured and low income women. But “uninsured” is the point. Currently insured women will be hit with the $1500 price – which could easily be disapproved by their insurance companies… or else cause the price of insurance premiums to go way up.

In other words, an organization that gets our tax money, the FDA, and a non-profit that we give donations to (and have since we were children in school), The March Of Dimes) have paid to develop a product that has been given to a Corporation, KY, whose major interest is profits over people.

If this doesn’t make us reject the idea of corporate control of things the government should protect citizens against, I don’t know what will.

Four Largest Banks Face Questions Today

Congress set up a new Commission to look into the major banks and whether or not they have been using federal aid to bring back lending to Americans or if they are merely lining their own pockets.

NPR is covering this today. This is from their web site (link below quote) where you can play a little more than 3 minutes of coverage on Morning Edition.

Top executives from four of the biggest banks that got federal bailouts are likely to face tough questions Wednesday from a commission charged by Congress to do the most thorough investigation yet into the causes of the financial crisis.

These will be the first public hearings conducted by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which has been compared to the 9/11 Commission. Phil Angelides, the new panel’s chairman and a former California state treasurer, used some evocative language as he described the commission’s task in an interview with NPR.

“There’s a need for accountability and responsibility. And I think it serves everyone’s purpose to get the facts and the truth on the table so that this country can move on,” says Angelides, a former Democratic candidate for governor in California and one of six Democratic appointees to the commission

What I want to know is why the hell did we bail out Goldman Sachs ahead of the rest of America?

Go here to get the rest of the story: NPR Morning Edition on Banks