Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday morning quick hits

Are we starting to get it? In March of 2008, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles then the same month in 2007. The Department of Transportation says that the reduction in miles driven represents a 4.3% decrease, the sharpest decline ever recorded.

Guyanendra must go The government on Nepal announced earlier today (Tuesday) that the king must leave the palace with the impending dissolution of the monarchy, which could happen as early as Wednesday when the national assembly that was elected in April convenes for the first time. Abolishing the monarchy was a key component of the 2006 peace deal that was struck with Maoist rebels. "The king must leave the palace immediately and move to the Nirmal Niwas," Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel said, referring to Gyanendra's private home. "If he does not leave the palace then the government might have to use force to vacate the palace," he said. "This will not be good for him."

Auto Industry broadsided by housing crisis as banks and other lenders get more exacting about the loans they are willing to make, consumers are having difficulty getting the financing they need to buy new cars. Home equity loans, previously used in more than ten percent of all car loans are no longer readily available, and used cars have flooded the market and driven the price of those vehicles down. New car sales for 2008 are expected to be down by 1.25 million units, and the ramifications of a depressed auto industry are likely to be felt throughout the economy.

Already battling disease, the terminally ill fight for access to experimental drugs One of the most frustrating things you can face in laboratory medicine is the terminal cancer patient who is getting sicker before your eyes - and you know exactly how sick because it is your job to quantify the deterioration - and you know that there is something out there that might help - you have another patient that is responding to it - you know the patient is responding, because you are quantifying that patients progress, too. But the miracle drug that patient B is responding to is experimental, and patient A isn't part of the study, so therefore has no access. But patient A now has a couple of friends in Washington - and boy, do they ever exemplify "politics makes strange bedfellows." Senator Sam Brownback and Rep. Diane Watson are about as far apart on the political spectrum as two people can get, but they are working together to pass legislation that would make it easier for patients who are diagnosed as hopeless using all approved treatments to gain access to experimental therapies. "What we need is a system that looks at the patient and their life-or-death situation, not at a bureaucracy and its needs," said Brownback, a melanoma survivor. "This is deadly neglect and it can't continue." Watson likened the new effort in Congress to the grass-roots movement in the gay community in the 1990s, when activists demanded experimental drugs for terminally ill patients with AIDS."Why wouldn't anyone whose diagnosis amounted to being handed a death sentence not want to see an opportunity to try these drugs?" asked Watson. "I am so pleased that we are finally recognizing what the activists knew many years ago."


No comments: