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November 17th, 2017

Diversions

The Continuing Crisis

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published April 21, 2017

The Continuing Crisis

University of Kentucky professor Buck Ryan disclosed in December that he had been punished recently (loss of travel funds and a "prestigious" award) by his dean for singing the Beach Boys classic "California Girls" for a lesson comparing American and Chinese cultures -- because of the song's "language of a sexual nature." The school's "coordinator" on sexual harassment issues made the ruling, apparently absent student complaints, for Ryan's lyric change of "Well, East Coast girls are hip" to "Well, Shanghai girls are hip." [Lexington Herald-Leader, 12-17-2016]

Because the 2015 San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack that killed 14 and seriously wounded 22 was a "workplace" injury (in that the shooters fired only at fellow employees), any health insurance the victims had was superseded exclusively by coverage under the state's "workers' compensation" system -- a system largely designed for typical job injuries, such as back pain and slip-and-falls. Thus, for example, one San Bernardino victim with "hundreds of pieces of shrapnel" still in her body even after multiple surgeries and in constant pain, must nevertheless constantly argue her level of care with a bureaucrat pressured by budgetary issues and forced to massage sets of one-size-fits-all guidelines. [New York Times, 12-2-2016]

Over a six-year period (the latest measured), drug companies and pharmacies legally distributed 780 million pain pills in West Virginia -- averaging to 433 for every man, woman and child. Though rules require dispensers to investigate "suspicious" overprescribing, little was done, according to a recent Drug Enforcement Administration report obtained by the Gazette-Mail of Charleston -- even though half of the pills were supplied by the nation's "big three" drugmakers (whose CEOs' compensation is enriched enormously by pain pill production). Worse, year-by-year the strengths of the pills prescribed increase as users' tolerance demands. (West Virginia residents disproportionately suffer from unemployment, coal mining-related disabilities and poor health.) [Gazette-Mail, 12-17-2016]

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