Saturday, July 26, 2014

"It was kind of a rattling, guttural sound. There was kind of a snorting through his nose. A couple of times, he definitely appeared to be choking."

"Whatever we know about these executions, the known unknowns are greater. Because the states will not share them, we don't know the dosages of the drugs administered. We don't know the drugs' manufacturers or their quality-control procedures. We mostly don't know the credentials of those administering the drugs. More importantly, the defendants don't know any of this, either. Without this information, those sentenced to execution cannot challenge the execution procedures in court nor check for possible medical complications. State execution-secrecy laws, routinely upheld by lower courts but untested before the Supreme Court, prevent this basic level of prophylactic Eighth Amendment protection. If death by torture is not cruel, defendants contend, what is?"

Matt Ford writes in The Atlantic about our latest botched execution.

Relman: American medicine is "treated as a market commodity, distributed according to the ability to pay, not medical need."

Marcia Angell writes in the New York Review of Books about her husband, Bud Relman, who first warned about the growing "medical-industrial complex" -- his term -- in 1980.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kaler gets a pay raise while U students accumulate record amounts of debt

"On July 9th, 2014, the Minnesota Board of Regents approved a pay raise and contract extension for UMN President Eric Kaler, bringing his base pay up to $625,250 per year with built-in reviews for additional annual raises and a total compensation package peaking at nearly a million dollars per year by the time his contract expires in 2020.  SDS opposes this decision and sees it as a direct affront to our demands for economic justice and education rights at UMN."

Read the rest of SDS condemnation here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

U bioethics professor Leigh Turner bashes the U's pretend review of psychiatric research

Read about it in City Pages.

If you've read Leigh's blog post and letter, you'll know the substance of his argument.  The City Pages reporter, Robbie Feinberg, asked both the U and AAHRPP for responses, and what he got is so mealy-mouthed and insubstantial that both responses are worth reproducing here.

From a "U of M spokesperson":

"From the start, our goal has been to ensure a vigorous process that fulfills the Faculty Senate's resolution to conduct a thorough, professional, independent and transparent review of our human subjects research practices. AAHRPP submitted the strongest proposal to administratively manage this process; it is not conducting any portion of the review. The review will be undertaken by a group of independent, internationally-recognized experts in the field of human subjects research protection. As part of this process, potential conflicts of interest will be managed appropriately."

From Elyse Summers, the President and CEO of AAHRPP:

"AAHRPP is proud to be a leader within the human research protections community. Consistent with that role, AAHRPP is well-positioned to have identified and assembled an independent panel of world renowned experts in the fields of bioethics, medicine, psychiatry, law and human research regulations, who, individually and collectively, have the experience, intellect, and integrity to conduct the evaluation requested by the University of Minnesota. AAHRPP will logistically manage the work but will play no role in the substantive analysis, decision-making, conclusions or recommendations of the expert team. As an organization committed to identifying and promoting the highest level of human research protections, we at AAHRPP are as eager as anyone to learn from the findings of the independent expert panel."

"World-renowned experts"?  Seriously?

A "thorough" and "transparent" review?  That is limited to three years, will cover no cases of research misconduct, and will not investigate Dan Markingson's suicide?

Come on.  Does anyone, anywhere, actually think that this review is legitimate?