☕️ MYSTERIOUS ☙ Monday, July 31, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
Mysterious drug price-setting; Obama paddle-boarding mysteries; beauty queen turbo cancer; hacker SADS turbo cancer; science gets another black eye; Biden flirts with Taiwan; and more.
Good morning, C&C, it’s Monday! Your roundup today includes: CMS starts mysterious drug price-setting process; Obama paddle boarding mysteries baffle officials; beauty queen turbo cancer; hacker SADS turbo cancer; science gets another black eye at Stanford; Biden makes Ukraine jealous by flirting with Taiwan; and a ducky clip to get you started right.
Note: the Childers family’s annual summer vacation continues this week, so posts may be shorter and later than usual. If it doesn’t show up on time, don’t panic! We’ll return to normally-scheduled programming next week.
🗞💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🗞
💉 They may not be very smart, but they are extremely cunning. The Hill ran a story Friday headlined, “Which drugs will be selected for Medicare negotiations? Here’s what we know.”
Our first mystery of the day!
Fueled by a new provision in the democrats’ recently-passed, Orwellian Inflation Reduction Act, the federal government is now engaged in a highly-contentious effort to, for the first time in history, set prices on a short schedule of ten drugs (to start with) that are currently approved under Medicare/Medicaid. The pharmaceutical companies that sell the drugs don’t want their prices set by the government and have filed lawsuits trying to legally scalpel the new law apart.
According to the Hill, CMS — the agency that oversees Medicare — is rushing ahead despite all the legal challenges. It can’t wait. The article says that the decision as to which drugs to fiscally shrink is loosely but not necessarily based on the drugs’ overall expense. Although it did not identify which drugs are in the government’s crosshairs, CMS did outline what it’s looking for, and you may notice something the targeted drugs have in common:
“A lot of the likely drugs include blood thinners, diabetes medication, cancer drugs. So many of these drugs are for chronic conditions and cost Medicare’s several thousands of dollars per beneficiary that’s taking it” Bailey Reavis, federal relations associate at Families USA, told The Hill.
Blood thinners, diabetes medication, and cancer drugs. Hmm. What could the common connection be? Maybe … jab injuries? These types of drugs are already expensive for Medicare. Unless it somehow reduces costs, some people might start measuring the extent of jab injuries after Medicare starts suddenly paying a lot more for drugs that thin people’s blood, treat their diabetes and cancer, and so forth.
I’m not saying CMS’s rush to fix low prices for blood thinners and cancer drugs is a cynical effort to sweep jab injuries under the Medicare rug or anything. I’m just saying.
🔥 The next developing mystery is the Obama chef’s sudden and unexpected paddle boarding death. It was bad enough the healthy 45-year-old fitness buff randomly fell off a paddle board on a quiet lake and drowned in three to eight feet of water. But they say the cover up is often worse than the crime.
You won’t find any of this in U.S. corporate media of course, but the Daily Mail UK ran a story late last week headlined, “EXCLUSIVE: Tafari Campbell paddle boarding death riddle: Cops left call log reporting Obama private chef's drowning BLANK and said it came from 2 miles away - as they refuse to reveal who he was with on the water.”
When you think about it, this a great time in history for a murder, since it’s career suicide to ask questions about sudden and unexpected deaths these days. No murder mystery writer could ever come up with a plot twist like this one. It’s like having to play Clue, but with the murder weapons removed. You can’t talk about those. “It was Professor Green in the Library with —“ “Careful! Don’t say it! Respect his privacy!”
In other words, it’s a game of Clue that is impossible to win.
Anyway, the first mystery was that the Duke’s County Sheriff’s office 911 call log has been scrubbed. The call about Obama’s chef is now mysteriously blank, both in the description of the call as well as to the name of the caller:
The second mystery was that, according to the Mail, dispatch calls between the emergency services on Martha's Vineyard confirmed there was a second paddle boarder on the water with Chef Campbell. The original 911 call was made by a female who helped search for Campbell. It is unclear whether she was the second paddle boarder, and the cops refuse to say, for some reason, leading to speculation that the caller and second paddle boarder was one of the Obama daughters.
Massachusetts State Police have already determined that the athletic chef’s death, which happened while he engaged in a non-taxing, relaxing recreational sport, was not suspicious, and needs no further investigation. So.
For what it’s worth, the Daily Mail included this helpful infographic map of the area, which was quite busy that evening, a sort of nexus of death, pain and suffering:
It’s probably nothing.
💉 Yesterday the Daily Mail ran a possibly-related story headlined, “Miss World Australia finalist Tirah Ciampa from Tasmania opens up about her pancreatic cancer battle and the symptoms she missed.”
Tiara Ciampa, 27, said the only warning signs last year were that her heart rate would occasionally spike and she would suffer “random” cramps. Starting in November, the beauty queen visited doctors — including a cardiologist — but it wasn’t till she got an abdominal in February that they found a huge 15 x 15 cm tumor already consuming half her pancreas.
Tiara, who turned out to be a very organized young lady, began preparing for The End. She wrote farewell letters to friends and family, sorted out her bank accounts, made her own funeral arrangements, and “cleared out” her laptop.
But fortunately, after a “marathon surgery,” Tiara’s deathly preparations turned out to be useless, a wasted effort, since she recovered and happily is now on the mend.
The plucky contestant plans to continue in the Miss World Australia competition this year, in spite of her new 6-inch abdominal scar, and despite other lingering health problems hinted at in the article. For example, it mentioned Tiara “will never be able to drink alcohol again or play sport due to a permanent clot in her spleen.”
How about that? Cardiac symptoms. Blood clots. Turbo cancer. It happens all the time! Science! Shut up!
💉 CNN ran another celebrity pancreatic cancer story last week headlined, “Legendary computer hacker Kevin Mitnick dies at 59.”
Maybe the most notorious hacker in history, who inspired several films including “Wargames,” Kevin Mitnick, 59, died on July 16th following a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
After a teenaged electronic rampage and four years in federal prison in the 1980’s, Kevin became a “white-hat” hacker, using his skills to help protect businesses from other hackers. For the last ten years, he was the chief hacking officer and part owner of successful tech security firm KnowBe4.
And now, he’s gone. The good news is, Kevin believed in The Science™ :
90% effective! Kevin is survived by his wife Kimberley, who is pregnant with their first child.
🔥 Let’s check in on The Science, and see how it’s doing. Uh oh! It’s not doing very well, apparently. The Stanford Daily ran a story last week headlined, “Stanford president resigns over manipulated research, will retract at least three papers.”
The hyphenated PRESIDENT of one of the most respected research giants in the country, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, announced his resignation effective August 1st, after a panel reviewing several of his peer-reviewed scientific papers found the top scientist had manipulated or falsified data to get the results he was looking for.
Even worse, the review panel found that questions about Marc’s made-up research cropped up as early as 2001, and then again in the early 2010s, in 2015 and 2016, and in March 2021, but nobody ever took any action, and the fake scientist wound up running one of the top scientific research institutions in the world.
I know it seems weird, but that’s Science!
The panel’s report concluded that the falsification of study results under Dr. Tessier-Lavigne’s control “spanned labs at three separate institutions.” It identified a lab culture where Tessier-Lavigne “tended to reward the ‘winners’ — who could generate favorable results — and punish the ‘losers,’” the honest students who were unable or struggled to generate “helpful” data for him.
The report stopped short of accusing Stanford’s president of outright fraud, but thoughtfully noted that Marc “has not been able to provide an adequate explanation” for why he did not correct the scientific record when given the chance. Actually he had lots of chances, and never corrected anything until now, after he got caught.
According to the Stanford Daily, the hyphenated scientist is now expected to retract or at least “issue robust corrections” to at least five of his papers, including a widely publicized study that he once claimed “turn our current understanding of Alzheimer’s on its head.”
Not so much, apparently. Instead, “Doctor” Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s story turns our current understanding of Science on its head. I’m sure there are lots of good, honest, hardworking scientists out there. But — and this is the critical bit — these days The Science™ seems to always reward the lying, scheming, lazy, good-for-nothing posers who are better at politics than precision.
You could say that the system worked; Marc was forced to resign from his institutional position. But if it weren’t for the dogged work of the Stanford Daily, which relentlessly pounded away at the story for years, Marc would be happily running one of the most influential research institutions in the world.
Marc got away with his fake studies for over 20 years. How many other bad studies have promoted fakers into management of leading institutions?
🚀 The Economist ran a story yesterday about the Biden Administration’s gift to Taiwan of $350 million in military equipment headlined, “Joe Biden donates weapons to Taiwan, as he does to Ukraine.”
The Economist pointed out that the U.S.’s gift to Taiwan is a historic first: There was no declaration of war. There was no Congressional authorization. There wasn’t even a declaration of emergency. Even more specifically, there was no declaration of any change in the U.S.’s stated policy of neutrality between China and Taiwan.
It was just an old man with a pen.
The weapons are being supplied through something called the “presidential drawdown authority” (PDA), and Biden’s authorizing order generically said that it would provide “defense articles and services,” whatever that is, as well as “military education and training.” A Pentagon spokesman explained the arms package would include unspecified anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, as well as “multi-domain awareness,” as if "awareness” could be put in a shipping crate. (According to leaks, the Pentagon meant high-tech MQ-9A surveillance drones).
It turns out that Biden has also been supplying Ukraine under the “presidential drawdown authority.” This week the Biden Administration announced its 43rd drawdown order for Ukraine, worth $400 million, bringing the total to $24 billion to date.
As the Economist noted, now that Taiwan is also being supplied with PDA weapons, many of which are the same ones Ukraine wants, an interesting question has emerged. Does this signal a shift in the Pentagon’s focus from the Proxy War to the Strait of Taiwan? Or, can Biden keep up with two wars at once without getting confused?
I report, you decide.
🔥 Enjoy this clip of a Florida woman helping a duck and her little ducklings cross a busy South Florida road:
Have a marvelous Monday! I’ll be back tomorrow with a little more Coffee & Covid to help get you through the vacation week, after which we’ll be back to normal.
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