Archive for college students

As children suffer, meningitis cases confirm need for FDA reform



You may have read about meningitis outbreaks at college campuses, in some instances resulting in deaths . Today's guest post is by someone whose name you may very well recognize, Dr. Julianne Malveaux. She makes a good case for urgent FDA reform:

Meningitis Cases Confirm Need for FDA Reform
by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.

It is virtually impossible to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything healthcare related these days. Even issues that everyone can agree on - like covering Americans with pre-existing conditions and keeping young adults on their parents' health plan - become political footballs.

But while Congress continues to debate healthcare policies, they are missing opportunities to genuinely effect Americans' health. There is common ground to be found, including ensuring our nation is properly expediting life-saving vaccines for a deadly disease.

Recent scares at Princeton University and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) have highlighted a sluggish, reactive approach to disease prevention and that the consequences of this leadership vacuum, particularly at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, could be deadly.

Last spring, a Princeton University student was diagnosed with Meningitis type B (MenB), a highly contagious and life-threatening bacterial infection known to strike college campuses. By November, officials made national headlines by confirming an eighth case.

Just as Princeton was taking steps to protect its students against this deadly disease, UCSB confirmed that MenB had stricken four of its students. One young man – a lacrosse player, Aaron Loy – had to have the lower portion of both legs amputated.

As a former college president, I can assure you that no university is prepared for this kind of crisis. This is particularly true because many college administrators believed they had protected their campuses by requiring incoming freshmen to be vaccinated against meningitis. But it turns out that immunizations cover every meningitis type except for MenB, which accounted for more than 30 percent of meningococcal cases last year.

Because FDA has not approved a MenB vaccine for use in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been scrambling to respond to public health crises like those at Princeton and UCSB. Rather than proactively immunizing susceptible college students before or immediately after a meningitis outbreak occurs, the CDC can only administer “Bexsero” – a MenB vaccine that is currently in use for all ages in European Union, Australia, and Canada – weeks after students have already fallen ill.

FDA’s ad hoc approval for Bexsero means that it takes months for the vaccine to reach college students, rather than days. In the case of Princeton, CDC and FDA launched a vaccination program more than two months after university officials requested special permission to administer the vaccine. Just last week UCSB began immunizing students, some three months after the first case of MenB was confirmed. As one CDC official told CNN, “You don't go online and order 10,000 doses and get next-day delivery of this vaccine. It takes time.”

That statement underscores the need for full U.S. approval of Bexsero -- quickly. A country that has long been the world leader in developing and deploying life-saving medicines should not have to depend on partners in the EU or Canada.

Moreover, other college campuses should be afforded the opportunity to vaccinate their students proactively, well before a disease like MenB strikes their campus. But this option for college administrators, state health officials, and parents is not possible so long as Bexsero remains unapproved in the U.S.

If Congress isn’t yet convinced that there is an urgent problem, perhaps they should listen to the parents of affected students.

"It's absolutely devastating to have Aaron, in the prime of his life, be stricken,” Mike Loy said. “We hope that Aaron's horrific illness brings increased awareness and rapid approval by the FDA of the vaccine.”

I've also heard one mother whose healthy daughter contracted MenB at college and she died within 30 hours of entering the hospital with a headache. She said the FDA would be moving a lot faster if they had to watch their children suffer the way she did.

Improving efficiency at FDA is an issue that should find bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Our system’s continued failure on the MenB vaccine is just one example that illustrates that there’s too much at stake for FDA reform to turn into the partisan fight du jour, or worse yet, be ignored by Congress altogether.


Koch Brothers Puppet Group "Bribing" College Kids Not To Enroll In #Obamacare



I would think that the laws on bribing people for their votes could edge into this territory. Thankfully most college age students aren't that dumb, they'll drink the free beer, get their gifties and move right along. Anyone else ever wonder what great things the Koch brothers could do if they used all this money for GOOD? Also too, their website is really lame.

WASHINGTON -- As the battle over the healthcare law grinds on — Republicans no closer to victory than when they forced the government shutdown — a different fight was rising on a recent Saturday from inside Sharkey’s, a bar near the campus of Virginia Tech, 260 miles away.

Lured by free beer, gift cards and the chance to win an iPad, 100 students heard a pitch from the young staffers of a group named Generation Opportunity
: Obamacare is a bad deal, and you should opt out.

With enrollment in the insurance marketplaces under way, and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on a public-awareness campaign, critics are aiming a provocative counter-effort at a critical population: millennials, age 18 to 29, who may not feel the need or have the money for insurance.


Reminds me of those cutlery and Tupperware sales pitches that they offered in college. Some of the really stupid students would sign up for outrageously priced knife sets and regret it every minute after. I would go just for the little Tupperware bowl key chain.

Generation Opportunity, which formed in 2011 and gets funding in part from the conservative Koch brothers, is about to embark on a tour of 20 college towns nationally, including a Nov. 9 stop at the University of Miami. The pitch is that you shouldn’t feel compelled by the government to buy insurance, and that it may be cheaper outside the marketplaces.

A blueprint for an upcoming tailgate calls for games such as beer pong and cornhole, free Taco Bell and beer. Pictures of people signing petitions to opt out would be sent over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The group, and more recognizable conservative organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, show how the fight has shifted from Congress to the grassroots. Young people are among the law’s most ardent supporters, but at the same time many are unaware of the benefits, providing an opening for critics.



Co-author of racist "low Latino IQ" report resigns from the Heritage Foundation as Hispanic college enrollment tops white enrollment


tweet heritage racist resignsLink

damage control

This news alert just showed up in my inbox:

The Heritage Foundation announced the resignation Friday of senior policy analyst Jason Richwine, co-author of a controversial report critical of the Senate's immigration reform bill. After Heritage issued the report this week, news articles pointed out that Richwine had argued in his Harvard dissertation that there was a long-standing difference between the IQ of white Americans and immigrants. Friday afternoon's announcement was part of an urgent damage control effort by the giant conservative think tank, which has come under unaccustomed criticism for the immigration report.

For more information...

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Rachel Maddow:

This is where the white supremacist problem comes in.

So, yesterday, it was Dillon Matthews at "The Washington Post" who looked up the credentials of the people who wrote the anti-immigration reform study for Heritage and they found out that one of the co-authors for the big Heritage study on this issue, did his doctoral dissertation on American immigration policy and specifically on the question of how we should shape our immigration policy to account for the fact that Latinos are so dumb as a race. I`m only barely paraphrasing.

The dissertation describes Latino immigrants as generally having an IQ that is, quote, "substantially lower than that of the white native population." Quote, "Immigrants living in the U.S. today do not have the same level of cognitive ability as natives." Quote, "No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against."

So, not only are Latinos intellectually inferior to whites, but, of course, they breed. Echh. Disgusting, right?

After that was reported the Heritage Foundation, which is now run by former Republican Senator Republican Jim DeMint, the Heritage Foundation tried to distance themselves from this guy who they had write their immigration report.

They lamented that people were focusing on this guy`s dissertation instead of on this new study from him. They said that the dissertation was, quote, "not a work product of the Heritage Foundation. Its findings do not reflect the positions of the Heritage Foundation or the conclusions of our study."

They further dismissed the guy who wrote the Latino's equal dumb thing by saying, quote, "he did not shape the methodology or the policy recommendations in the Heritage policy paper, semicolon, he provided quantitative support for the lead author." So, basically, "the guy was just a temp. He was good with a calculator. That`s all we hired him for."

Think Progress demonstrates that not only is timing everything, but also, irony is not dead:

A Pew Research Center report released Thursday notes that Hispanic college enrollment reached a record high for the class of 2012, surpassing the rate of white enrollment for the first time. [...]

This should catch the attention of Heritage Foundation’s Jason Richwine, who coauthored a debunked immigration study that argues reform is too costly. Richwine argued in his dissertation that immigrants naturally possess a lower IQ, a pseudoscience point linked to anti-immigration groups actively working against reform.

graph hispanic education rises


University of Notre Dame announces changes in support, service for GLBTQ students


It may not be "official", but this is a huge deal. The "chaste" bit might be a stretch.

SOUTH BEND -- The University of Notre Dame announced plans today to provide more support and services for students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning, including creating a university-recognized student organization.

The move stops short of creating an officially recognized gay-straight student alliance club on campus, which some students and employees have requested repeatedly over many years.


The plan, titled "Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame," was crafted by members of the university's Student Affairs staff. The university announcement states the plan follows a study of Catholic doctrine and teaching, listening sessions with students, and an examination of student clubs and structures at other Catholic universities.

The plan emphasizes the "respect, compassion and sensitivity" due to all, and calls Notre Dame students to cultivate chaste relationships and to support one another in a community of friendship. A document detailing the review process, Catholic Church teaching and specifics of the implementation of the plan is available online at