Hazardous rap on anti-clotting drug
The recent article by ProPublica, "Coumadin: 'Most dangerous drug in America'" describes in gory details the symptoms of an elderly male admitted to an emergency room. The article states the patient "took" Coumadin (warfarin) at his nursing home because he has an abnormal heart rhythm.
Warfarin has been in common use for many years to prevent formation of blood clots that can be fatal. Health-care professionals and properly informed patients know well the need to routinely and closely monitor blood prothrombin time as a basis for proper dosing.
This product is used by physicians and other health-care professionals in thousands of patients who need anticoagulant therapy with excellent and economical results. Failure to maintain well understood protocols can indeed have disastrous results.
However, publishing an article claiming this commonly used product is "the most dangerous drug in America" is one of the most dangerous public health hazards I have ever seen. The article should have made clear the importance of patient compliance and proper health-provider management. One wonders whether the author or his organization is financed by the manufacturers of other newer and more expensive products commonly advertised which have their own serious side effects.
Furl Confederate flag
Symbols are important specifically because they convey meaning. Context is also important, and we are responsible to understand both the meaning and the context of things we celebrate.
The Kentucky families I descended from had soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, and no great loyalty to the Southern cause was handed down to me, but I know friends who feel a strong familial connection to the people who supported the Confederate Army.
But it was during the civil rights movement, in an era of lynchings and church bombings and police brutality, that the rebel flag became more prominent than this one design of the battle flag ever was in the 1860s. That was the context for the rise of the rebel flag as modern symbol, and today's context is that monster in South Carolina.
We can honor the brilliant generals, the sacrifices of the home folk and the bravery of the Confederate soldiers because they were Americans and our ancestors. We just have to do it without employing symbolism that conveys hatred toward a race of people. If it's perceived as hatred, then that's what you're conveying. Find another way to convey heritage.
Ignorance and avarice
A recent letter, "Climate anti-science," is an unlearned rant that cherry-picks scientific progress and claims worldwide conspiracy on the part of 97 percent of climate scientists (hundreds from multiple disciplines).
It arrogantly derides peer review in all scientific-data publication. It is not surprising that a contrarian who has apparently never practiced research science might so naively state that "consensus is the opposite of science."
Also, the writer apparently does not know that scientific publication requires more than just getting past the review of three "volunteers familiar with the subject."
A broad, best-expert consensus only comes after test and retest of data from many different-discipline publications. And, if retest of a given publication exposes an incorrect central hypothesis or conclusion, the authors pay a serious career-stopping/impeding price. Research science, while imperfect like all human activities, is highly critical and competitive.
The writer wants equal stage to practice willful ignorance or deception. Available data now put us way beyond that Koch-like tactic. Ask NASA, NOAA, USDA, the U.S. National Academy of Science, all legitimate scientific organizations, the Pentagon, the insurance industry. Seriously, can these all be co-conspirators? Readers, simply Google "Pentagon climate change."
Fossil-fuel-industry and individual-contrarian denialists practice deception for personal gain or because of willful ignorance.