Friday, October 21, 2016

Proprietary School Education

Originally Published November 06, 2009; Last Updated October 21, 2016; Last Republished October 21, 2016:

It's probably too early to tell if the proprietary school does anything more than saddle our youngsters with a mountain of debt to enrich a few investors—but an initial look is not encouraging.

It's not too early to require transparent disclosures4, oversight, and reporting from our proprietary schools.

These data can be used to determine whether these schools, as a whole or individually are responding to market demand or creating market distortions5?

It's difficult to imagine what proprietary schools provide, beyond a mountain of student debt and a near useless education1 that our community colleges cannot better provide. Our community college system, properly configured to respond to the needs of our population2 and nation is a superior substitute for proprietary schools3.


UPDATED 07/30/2012 Senate Report, For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard 
the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success (pdf) and For Profi t Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success dated July 30, 2012 (pdf-alt-prefer-format).

The data contained in this detailed report and appendixes make it clear that it is no longer "too early to tell" if our proprietary schools do anything but saddle our youngsters with a mountain of debt to enrich a few investors at our nation's expense.

More than half of the students enrolled in proprietary schools between 2008-09 left without a certificate, associate degree or bachelor degree, which on average cost $15.5K, $26.6K and $10.1K (respectively) more than a nonproprietary equivalent.
"...As a result of high tuition, students must take on significant student loan debt to attend school. When students withdraw, as hundreds of thousands do each year, they are left with high monthly payments but without a commensurate increase in earning power from new training and skills.

...The vast majority of the students left with student loan debt that may follow them throughout their lives, and can create a financial burden that is extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, to escape.

...During the same period, the companies examined spent $4.2 billion on marketing and recruiting, or 22.7 percent of all revenue. Publicly traded companies operating for-profit colleges had an average profit margin of 19.7 percent, generated a total of $3.2 billion in pre-tax profit and paid an average of $7.3 million to their chief executive officers in 2009."--Senate Report, For Profit Higher Education--
The report's recommendation that private student debt be dischargable in bankruptcy must extend to public student debt, too.

GAO Report, Improved Department of Education Oversight Needed to Help Ensure Only Eligible Students Receive Federal Student Aid

GAO Report, Stronger Department of Education Oversight Needed to Help Ensure Only Eligible Students Receive Federal Student Aid


UPDATED 10/11/2012 RadioWorks, The Rise of Phoenix: For-Profit Universities Shake Up the Academy (transcript of podcast)

UPDATED 10/05/2012 ProPublica, No Income? No Problem! How the Gov’t Is Saddling Parents with College Loans They Can’t Afford6

It's unclear why our Congress has yet to enact legislation ensuring all student loan debt is entirely dischargable within a nominal bankruptcy proceeding. Perhaps they'e been overwhelmed unwinding the first and second wave of debt from bank recapitalization and restructure?

UPDATED 08/10/2012 ProPublica, The For-Profit Higher Education Industry, By the Numbers
UPDATED 12/11/2010 ProPublica, For-Profit Colleges Rake in Millions From Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
UPDATED 12/02/2010 ProPublica, Ex-Admissions Officer at For-Profit College Testifies About School's Tactics. More evidence that our proprietary schools are exploiting instead of educating.

UPDATED 07/09/2010 ProPublica, Investment Funds Stir Controversy Over Recruiting by For-Profit Colleges. Perhaps government guarantees and payments to proprietary schools can be directly and continually tied to graduates' actual earnings. Preventing the serial subscribers from proliferating proprietary schools (new name, same subscribers, operators, and investors) whose graduates' actual earnings are insufficient to sustain current operations.


UPDATED 08/29/2016 NYT, Crackdown on For-Profit Colleges May Free Students and Trap Taxpayers
UPDATED 06/28/2016 Reveal, Who Got Rich Off The Student Debt Crisis
UPDATED 06/09/2016 Youtube TedxPSU, A solution to student debts in America

The sooner our nation completely unwinds all toxic student loan debt in bankruptcy or equivalent process the better.

UPDATED 11/16/2015 AP, US reaches $95.5M settlement in for-profit education case
UPDATED 11/12/2015 Reuters, Students across U.S. to march over debt, free public college
UPDATED 11/11/2015 UCTV, Student Loans and the Rising Cost of Higher Education -- UC Public Policy Channel

ROI on citizenry education is a circular debate that need not precede a society's decision to continuously optimize access to current conceptual acquisition by all its citizenry.

UPDATED 11/03/2015 Atlantic, How For-Profit Colleges Hang on to Federal Funding

UPDATED 10/20/2015 UPI, Obama administration urges no bankruptcy relief for student debt

Stabilization of the student loan program does not require that we flog our insolvent retirees through bankruptcy proceedings. Nor does or should the present draconian bankruptcy provision require a petitioner to prove a "certainty of hopelessness" or "total incapacity" to change (i.e. death) before discharging their student loan debt.

Shame on the Obama administration for arguing such bizarre nonsense in a bankruptcy proceeding!
UPDATED 10/12/2015 NYT, For-Profit Colleges Accused of Fraud Still Receive U.S. Funds

UPDATED 06/24/2015 MW, Obama administration scores big win in crackdown on for-profit colleges

Our Congress should adopt "gainful employment rules" and amend our bankruptcy code and related laws to ensure student loans are routinely dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings.

Creating "debtor prisons" for our college students is not in the best interest of our students or nation. 

UPDATED 01/20/2015 WH, The President Proposes to Make Community College Free for Responsible Students for 2 Years

Excellent idea, even if we must listen to our confused-cowboy-cannibal-carney-capitalists squeal about a seven or eight cent per dollar excessive-debt-margin-discouragement-fee.

UPDATED 08/05/2014 CIR, University of Phoenix barred from enrolling veterans in 7 programs and CIR, GI Bill loophole keeps 4 major for-profit educators from violating law

UPDATED 07/05/2014 UPI, For-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc. submits plan to shut down its operations

How about the Apollo Group, Education Management Corporation, Kaplan, DeVry, Career Education Corporation, ITT, Bridgepoint, Strayer Incorporated, Lincoln Educational Services, Capella Education Company, American Public Education Incorporated, Grand Canyon Incorporated, Universal Technical Institute and National American University and others?

It's a rare or extinct proprietary school that is not receiving at least 75% of their revenue from federal sources—many receive more than 80% and some exceed 90%.

Wonder if their lobbyists are schlepping the halls of Congress on their behalf? (Hint: begin with the "As")7.

UPDATED 06/09/2014 WH, President Obama Speaks on Student Loan Debt

Kudos to the President for using his bully pulpit and limited authority to highlight the need for affordable access to education and encourage an intransigent Congress to act.

Access to very low or no cost education is not an elite privilege, but a fundamental cost of continual development and maintenance of our modern civil society structures (i.e promoting the welfare of our nation).

Unfortunately, some of our current congressional representatives seem to believe that the constitutional phrase "promote the general welfare [of our nation]" means perpetually promoting war and prison in perpetuity.

UPDATED 06/08/2014 NYT BookRev, B.A.s and I.O.U.s ‘Degrees of Inequality,’ by Suzanne Mettler

We need not await definitive data delineating proprietary school student loan fraud to initiate prophylactic measures.

Pending legislative action reinstating the prior treatment of student loan debt as routinely dischargeable unsecured debt our bankruptcy courts can take notice that student loan debt is a hardship.

Loading our students up with massive debt differs little from private capital (new definition for old leverage buy-out; LBO) structuring a deal that sends a target into bankruptcy with crushing unserviceable debt, except unlike our students the target can routinely discharge its crushing debt and sometime recover its losses from those that structured the LBO.

Our college students should not be required to make the Hobson's choice between a lifetime of debt and a lifetime of disadvantaging ignorance!

UPDATED 01/15/2014 MJ, How College Pricing Is Like Holiday Retail Sales
UPDATED 08/12/2012 CFR, Guest Post: Community Colleges and America’s Skills Gap

It's unclear why our community colleges are not seamlessly integrated into the life-long educational needs of our citizenry—offering no cost classes responsive to local, regional and national vocational, professional and two-year degree requirements (scalable to some four-year degrees) on a 24/7/365 schedule8.

UPDATED 07/30/2012 Reuters, Senate report calls for congressional action on for-profit colleges

The excellent Senate report (ExecSum) contains much informative data, including profiles from a sample population of proprietary schools. The senate report (FullReport)  can be accessed via a link under "Res:" section above.

UPDATED 02/20/2012 WT, Obama takes tougher stance on higher education

UPDATED 11/21/2010 NYT, Scrutiny Takes Toll on For-Profit College Company and NYT, For-Profit College and WP, Is The Post falling short on Kaplan coverage.

UPDATED 10/02/2010 Reuters, Opposition to education rules gathers steam.

UPDATED 09/17/2010 ProPublica, For-Profit Schools Donate to Lawmakers Opposing New Financial Aid Rules. Fortunately many are no longer accepting the myth that our representatives are not voting consistent with their dominate campaign contributors'' monies. The impacts of such voting is still a hotly debated topic requiring further research and analysis.

UPDATED 08/15/2010 Reuters, For-profit schools get report on loan repayments.

UPDATED 08/04/2010 NYT, For-Profit Colleges Mislead Students, Report Finds.

UPDATED 05/05/2010 PBS Frontline, College Inc.

 Investigating how Wall Street and a new breed of for-profit universities are transforming the way we think about college in America...

Why do any for profit markets exist for educating human beings? Are for profit markets for education a solution or deficiency? What are the costs to a society of operating private markets for human being education? Is producing a product or service for a market the same as educating a human being? What, if any human activity is not amenable to a market solution? Is education or learning an "efficient" activity? Are there ways to improve public not for profit education that will eliminate for profit education markets? Can private for profit and public not for profit education markets coexist? Should education ever be responsive to any markets (see is education efficient above)? Is private for profit education a substitute or complement to public not for profit education? Do universal national standards for measuring educational outcomes inform the private for profit and public not for profit education debate?

 Most significantly, what are the costs to our historically beneficial capitalist system from misapplication or distortion of markets and market principles or solutions to great harm? Once, twice, three times, or more... 

UPDATED 12/21/2009 ContraCostaTimes, A four-year degree from a two-year school? It could happen. Many California community colleges could make this transition quickly given the additional resources—others would require more time, notwithstanding sufficient resources. Nevertheless, all our community colleges should begin the transition.

UPDATED 12/16/2009 ProPublica, Real Student Default Rates Much Higher Than Previously Known ProPublica, At University of Phoenix, Allegations of Enrollment Abuses Persist


1. An early flashing warning light is that other colleges, schools and universities are not transferring units from many proprietary schools. A second flashing warning light is that economic analysis indicates many graduating student's earning capacity, as a direct result of the education provided, will be inadequate to retire the incurred debt.

2. Some policymakers and educators still incorrectly think they must conform a population to their demands to disastrous results for our students, schools, and nation. Meeting our population cum students "where they are" while ensuring a meaningful education has always been a challenge for both students and educators—just more acute today.

3. Proprietary school enrollment figures indicate that our community colleges may be deficient in responding to our students' needs. On the other hand many of our community colleges are pursuing very diverse and innovative approaches to meet fast changing demands—near round-the-clock class schedules; adapting to the more mature students; remedial classes; accommodating mental, learning, and physical disabilities; aligning course curricula and degree requirements to meet our changing national objectives, rigorous university academics, and local labor markets (present and future).

4. All disclosures of graduation rates, dropout rates, placement rates, instructor qualifications, course curriculum, teaching and training facilities, overall and individual grade point averages, complaints, lawsuits, underwriters, investors etc. must be certified current, complete, and accurate.

5. The "subprime" mess reminds us of the trillions of dollar difference between creating market distortions and supplying market demand. Some of our "capitalists" have difficulty distinguishing one from the other.

6. College students with insufficient educational attainment, enthusiasm or direction after high school (see ProPublica, The Opportunity Gap Is Your State Providing Equal Access to Education?) may find it useful, efficient and more effective to attend a less costly community college—transferring to the university after a couple of years (remember educational attainment is a nonlinear lifetime process).

 7. Those wanting additional details on the politics of perpetuating these proprietary schools will appreciate Suzanne Mettler's new book Degrees of Inequality.Telling a story of:

"... how the US political system today has become a polarized plutocracy, with a government that is fiercely divided and ineffective, with rare exceptions--aside from those instances in which powerful, wealthy industries manage tho unite lawmakers across the aisle in bipartisan support of government largesse directed toward them. In an age of rising economic inequality, American government has grown so polarized that most efforts to respond to public needs end in stalemate. Yet big money interests with political savvy yield the power to generate bipartisan support for political elites. In the case of the for-profits, such success has enabled them to divert funds intended for educational opportunity, using them instead to improve their bottom lines." @ pg 167

8. UPDATED 10/21/2016 Solutions to the challenges, which will propel our nation during the next century will need cross-discipline, cross-culture, and cross-clock teams. (e.g. National Science Foundation, Community College Innovation Challenge 2016-2017) .

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Promotion Of Product Intended To Kill

Originally Published August 16, 2012; Last Updated October 22, 2016: Last Republished September 21, 2016:

Any government permitting the promotion of usage of a product that when used as intended has a scientific certainty of killing its citizenry1 is not aiding and abetting "free markets"—at best it's aiding and abetting negligent homicide; at worst its guilty of mass murdering its citizenry.

Kudos to the Australian High Court for its decision in JT International SA v Commonwealth of Australia; British American Tobacco Australasia [sic] Limited & Ors v Commonwealth of Australia
Australia Plain Pack

Scientific process and progress can be expected to routinely and sometimes rapidly render products harmful or deadly—it's a perverse legal system that permits or enables scientific process and progress to promote products that when used as intended kills its citizenry2, 3.


UPDATED 10/03/2016 CDC, Current Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 Years and Older and CDC, 2014 Crude Prevalence Smoker Status by State BRFSS
UPDATED 09/21/2016 CDC, Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
UPDATED 04/01/2016 Cell, DNA Methylation in Newborns and Maternal Smoking in Pregnancy: Genome-wide Consortium Meta-analysis
UPDATED 09/14/2015 Nature, Tobacco smoke carcinogens, DNA damage and p53 mutations in smoking-associated cancers
UPDATED 09/09/2015 MedNews, What is nicotine?
UPDATED 08/15/2015 NIH, Smoking, p53 Mutation, and Lung Cancer
UPDATED 07/24/2015 FDA, Tobacco Products; (August - Biomarkers of Tobacco Exposure: A Public Workshop)
UPDATED 07/02/2015 SmokeFree
UPDATED 03/14/2015 NAP, Understanding the U.S. Illicit Tobacco Market: Characteristics, Policy Context, and Lessons from International Experiences and Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products
UPDATED 11/02/2014 UCSF, The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library and NIH, The economic burden of smoking in California, [1999] (pdf) and TRDRP, The Cost of Smoking in California, [2009] dated October 2014 (pdf)
UPDATED 10/03/2013 WHO, FCTC [ Framework Convention on Tobacco Control] Health Warnings Database and WHO, MPower Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) and WHO, Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2013: Enforcing Bans on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (pdf)

Pictures and pictograms are important in countries whose development has not yet achieved sufficient educational attainment.

It's not without significant irony that the same economic system capable of propelling a nation's development is also capable of propelling a nation's demise, if or when incorrectly operated and managed.

Our nation has signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control but Congress has not, yet ratified it. Our Congress may be applying its bizarre and delusional "Exceptional America" logic to justify its failure to ratify this important international framework?

UPDATED 08/17/2012 Lancet, Tobacco use in 3 billion individuals from 16 countries: an analysis of nationally representative cross-sectional household surveys (available at no cost but requires registration)
UPDATED 08/17/2012 CDC, Cigarette Package Health Warnings and Interest in Quitting Smoking --- 14 Countries, 2008--2010


UPDATED 10/22/2016 SA, If Soda Companies Don't Want to Be Treated Like Tobacco Companies They Need to Stop Acting Like Them
UPDATED 10/19/2016 SWMC, Breakthrough in mapping nicotine addiction could help researchers improve treatment and ANL, A Breakthrough in Mapping Nicotine Addiction
"The protein, called the α4β2 (alpha-4-beta-2) nicotinic receptor (3D imaged using Argonne's beamlines), sits on nerve cells in the brain. Nicotine binds to the receptor when someone smokes a cigarette or chews tobacco, causing the protein to open a path for ions to enter the cell. The process produces cognitive benefits such as increased memory and focus but is also highly addictive."
Kudos to our researchers who patiently pursue the difficult basic research, which enables us to fundamentally understand problems vexing our nation and citizenry.

Those manufacturing products must conduct such basic research beforeinjecting toxic, addictive, and deadly products into our global commerce streams.

UPDATED 10/11/2016 Reuters, U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear tobacco arbitration dispute
UPDATED 09/21/2016 SD, Smoking has a very broad, long-lasting impact on the human genome (AHA, Epigenetic Signatures of Cigarette Smoking)
UPDATED 09/02/2016 NYT, Tobacco Industry Works to Block Rules on E-Cigarettes

Evidently, big tobacco is incapable of constructively producing products beneficial to civil society? Perhaps, a law that revokes its ability to respond in federal courts resulting in default judgments for the harm its products produce will make sure it ceases producing harmful products? Similar to revocation of a nuisance litigant's ability to file lawsuits, but with damages attached.

Alternatively, our citizenry can vote to impose taxes (i.e a form of liquidated and ascertained damages) on its products proportional to the harm it is and will inflict on civil society?

UPDATED 07/28/2016 LBL, All E-Cigarettes Emit Harmful Chemicals, but Some Emit More Than Others

"Regular cigarettes are super unhealthy. E-cigarettes are just unhealthy.”

UPDATED 07/26/2016 NAM, National Academy of Medicine and FDA Select Four Individuals for 2016-2017 Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellows 
UPDATED 07/23/2016 American Stroke Association, Sex, Smoking, and Risk for Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (Medline, Women Smokers at Higher Risk for Brain Bleed)

"There is no safe level of smoking" ... --Dr. Joni Lindbohm of the University of Helsinki, lead researcher studying female smokers' subarachnoid hemorrhage risk--

UPDATED 07/20/2016 SA, Tobacco and Oil Industries Used Same Researchers to Sway Public
UPDATED 07/18/2016 MedLinePlus, 1 in 5 Americans Uses a Tobacco Product

Cigarette smoke has toxic particulate that requires strict regulation to make sure it never involuntarily impacts another person.

UPDATED 06/22/2016 NutritionFacts, American Medical Association Complicity with Big Tobacco

A reminder of how imperfect (some might say criminally negligent 5) our government can be when promoting the general Welfare of our present and future citizenry (see U.S. Constitution).

UPDATED 06/21/2016 Reuters, Smokers may try to quit 30 times before it sticks

The absurd notion that a smoker lacks will power to quit because they cannot stop smoking on the first attempt likely hinders or prevents many smokers from quitting.

It may take many more than 30 attempts before quitting this highly addictive and deadly habit!

UPDATED 05/23/2016 BBC, Axa stubs out €1.7bn tobacco industry investment and Reuters, CalPERS to study possible reinvestment in tobacco

It is retrogressive, misguided, and malevolent tax policy that permits or enables any investment in a product, which has a scientific certainty of killing humans to be profitable.

UPDATED 05/19/2016 BBC, Tobacco laws: Bid to overturn packaging rules dismissed
UPDATED 05/16/2016 Reuters, U.S. top court rejects Philip Morris appeal of judgment in smoker's death

UPDATED 05/11/2016 WP, New, sweeping federal rules bar e-cigarette sales to teens younger than 18 and WSJ, India’s Supreme Court Orders Tobacco Companies to Comply With Health Warning Rules and Reuters, U.S. cracks down on e-cigarettes and cigars, bans sales to minors

A corporation producing any product that has a scientific certainty of harming people when used as intended (e.g. tobacco products) must expect comprehensive prophylactic government regulation throughout its (products and corporate entity) entire life cycle.

It's unclear how our corporations learned that they can freely produce otiose and odious products as a matter of right—clearly the expectations for our 21st century corporations need to dramatically increase!

Somehow a corporation learned it can dump a product into the stream of commerce and forget about it, until sued, ad nauseam for incremental damages, while their product(s) continues harming people! Corporations must transparently and publicly account for its product(s) in perpetuity or until all instances of the product(s) no longer exist, including all existing or future harm.

UPDATED 03/28/2016 ACS, Cigarettes Cheaper than E-cigarettes in 44 of 45 Countries Studied Oft touted reason for switching a nicotine addiction from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is unsupported by the data.

UPDATED 03/02/2016 SFGate, Supes raise age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 — lawsuit possible

The law is one of the many tools that governments on all levels (municipal, state, federal etc) should constantly and creatively deploy to minimize the direct and indirect baleful human impacts of tobacco usage.

UPDATED 02/06/2016 BBC, Do e-cigarettes make it harder to stop smoking? and Lancet, Respiratory Medicine ; E-cigarettes and smoking cessation in real-world and clinical settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis

...Odds of quitting cigarettes were 28% lower in those who used e-cigarettes compared with those who did not use e-cigarettes...

UPDATED 01/22/2016 PBS, Why these anti-smoking TV ads are working

CDC's latest "Tips" anti-smoking campaign:

UPDATED 12/29/2015 NM, E-cigarettes damage cells in ways that could lead to cancer

How many of our citizens will die before this "free-market-product" becomes intolerable like its sibling free-market-product, cigarettes (i.e. mobile source of toxic and hazardous pollution)?

UPDATED 12/18/2015 NZHerald, Australia welcomes plain cigarette packaging win and WSJ, Big Tobacco Challenges U.K.’s Plain-Packaging Laws in High Court  and WSJ, Tobacco Companies Revive Suit Against FDA Over Packaging

It's difficult to take seriously a First (speech clause) or Fifth (taking clause) Amendment challenge to our government's efforts to curtail or eliminate the usage of a product that kills so many of our citizenry.

Surely, a nation's toolbox includes tools short of declarations of illegality, which directly impact interests in a deadly product? Stated differently, declarations of illegality are not a condition precedent to subsequent actions that may impact an interest in a product subsequently discovered to be deadly.

UPDATED 12/08/2015 Telegraph, E-cigarettes contain flavouring chemical linked to deadly 'popcorn lung'

No need to await decades of accumulated health issues before challenging the promotion of products with a significant likelihood for negatively impacting human health.

UPDATED 12/01/2015 SFGate, Which counties smoke the most in the Bay Area?
UPDATED 11/14/2015 AP, Residents mixed on proposed smoking ban in public housing

 "There is no safe level of secondhand smoke."
Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy

UPDATED 09/28/2015 BBC, Rare 'healthy' smokers' lungs explained

"The strongest thing that people can do to affect their future health in terms of COPD and also smoking-related disease like cancer and heart disease is to stop smoking."

UPDATED 09/15/2015 FDA, FDA issues orders that will stop further U.S. sale and distribution of four R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company cigarette products
UPDATED 07/16/2015 Economist, Quitting is so Hard

"Everybody now knows how people can be persuaded to stop smoking. So all countries should be doing it"

UPDATED 06/01/2015 Reuters, China launches campaign to snuff out smoking
UPDATED 04/18/2015 Reuters, Youth e-cigarette data prompts new calls to speed regulation
UPDATED 12/30/2014 YouTube, Hard-hitting anti-smoking campaign 'aims to save lives'

It's important, as nations' public health specialists roll-out these "hard-hitting" adverts, to recall the nefarious and baleful history of tobacco—The history of the discovery of the cigarette-lung cancer link: evidentiary traditions, corporate denial, global tollBig Tobacco knew radioactive particles in cigarettes posed cancer risk but kept quiet, List of cigarette smoke carcinogens (which excludes several thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke whose biological interactions still require elucidation).

"The cigarette is the deadliest artefact in the history of human civilisation."—The History, Robert N. Proctor

...and just in case you think tobacco's shameful shenanigans are in the dustbin of history—our conflicted corporations and perverse politicians are continuing to gamble on our citizen-residents' smoking rates! (ProPublica, Behind New Jersey's Tobacco Bond Bailout, A Hedge Funds 100 Million Payday)

UPDATED 11/27/2014 CDC, Adult Cigarette Smoking Rate Overall Hits All-time Low
UPDATED 08/26/2014 CSM, Why WHO calls for indoor ban on e-cigarettes
UPDATED 08/11/2014 ProPublica, How Wall Street Tobacco Deals Left States With Billions in Toxic Debt

Unfortunately, the tobacco industry related infliction of misery and mayhem does not end with the hundred of thousands smokers who die each year.

Perhaps if our corporate containers possessed the anthropomorphic attributes our Supreme Court has assigned them the inflicted misery and mayhem would cease accumulating over decades, along with the mob-like interest on financial instruments commonly referred to as capital accumulation bonds.

UPDATED 04/24/2014 WT, FDA extends its reach to e-cigarettes in proposal and  FDA, Extending Authorities to Additional Tobacco Products

Public comment on the proposed extension of authority begins April 25, 2014.
UPDATED 04/16/2014 NYT, Early Data in E-Cigarette Study May Raise Safety Concerns

It seems amazingly absurd that any 21st century civil society structure would enable its manufacturers of any product to use its citizenry as laboratory rats for the safety testing of that product. Particularly if that product has an uncertain but related status as a substitute or complement for any product that kills to a scientific certainty when used as intended (e.g. tobacco products).

UPDATED 04/14/2014 UPI, New congressional report presses for e-cigarette regulation
UPDATED 04/03/2014 NYT, Britain Shows Support for Tougher Cigarette Laws
UPDATED 02/05/2014 LiveScience, CVS to Become 1st National Pharmacy Chain to Stop Selling Tobacco and FDA, FDA launches its first national public education campaign to prevent, reduce youth tobacco use ( includes link to ads)
UPDATED 01/29/2014 ThomsonReuter, Cigarettes kicked out of school in China
UPDATED 11/28/2013 Telegraph, Plain cigarette packaging could be brought in by 2015

Opponents to governments' efforts to demote cigarette smoking by our citizenry often selectively use the curious concept of  "freedom to [insert activity]", but fail to exposit this freedom within a context of  "scientific certainty".

Often their explanations or logic simply substitute or incorporate a plethora of unchallenged personal and cultural myths, assumptions and assertions.

Some governments not only ignore "scientific certainty" but completely blow-up science by ascribing anthropomorphic attributes to an inanimate corporate object, then "reason" that our government cannot constitutionally demote cigarette smoking because demotion infringes the ascribed anthropomorphic attributes.

It's truly bizarre when the living anthropomorphize the dead, which proximately kills the living, to a scientific certainty!

UPDATED 08/01/2013 LBNL, Secondhand Smoke in Bars and Restaurants Means Higher Risk of Asthma and Cancer

It seems worth noting that our restaurant sector has not historically provided healthcare insurance or the wages necessary to purchase healthcare insurance.

Perhaps, just another example of our accumulating market failures that will be ameliorated by our Affordable Healthcare Act and eliminated when our citizenry have universal healthcare.

UPDATED 07/26/2013 Economist, No Butts Some country per capita smoking percentages.
UPDATED 07/01/2013 LBNL, Berkeley Lab Confirms Thirdhand Smoke Causes DNA Damage

Baleful cigarette weaponry continues to menace, molest, mutate, maim and collaterally kill members of our civil society while our judiciary considers whether requiring prominent pictograms on "product packaging" is permissible. You can't make this stuff up!

UPDATED 01/24/2013 ScienceDaily, Smoke-Free Law Linked to Large Fall in Child Asthma Hospital Admissions
UPDATED 12/28/2012 BBC, Graphic anti-smoking ad launched

UPDATED 12/19/2012 WSJ, EU Proposes Tougher Tobacco Rules Prominent text and images
UPDATED 11/27/2012 Reuters, Judge orders tobacco companies to admit deception

UPDATED 11/13/2102 USN, Study: Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs Would Be Effective

Evidently, pictures and pictograms are important to smoking cessation in countries whose development has achieved sufficient educational attainment, too!

UPDATED 11/12/2012 ManilaBulletin, Healthier Crops
UPDATED 08/25/2012 Reuters, U.S. court strikes down graphic warnings on cigarettes It seems odd that any legal system would endowed a corporate entity with commercial speech rights4—it seems positively perverse for our legal system to then use those commercial speech rights to enable our corporations to promote a highly addictive product that has a scientific certainty of killing our citizenry when used as intended!

Hopefully, our Supreme Court will reverse R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. FDA (pdf)—surely the odd concept of corporate commercial speech developed and used by our U.S. Supreme Court does not include the right to produce and promote a highly addictive product that has a scientific certainty of killing our citizenry when they use this product as intended3!

Some legal decisions can cause an uninitiated reader to wonder if its author isn’t really a toddler hilariously answering a question that has overwhelmed their still developing conceptual capacity. Surely the court is not saying that if industry can produce a lethal product sufficiently addictive that death precedes usage cessation our government cannot emotionally, experimentally, or otherwise require or compel graphic images for the purpose of prompting, promoting or provoking usage cessation short of death.
"...FDA has not provided a shred of evidence—much less the “substantial evidence” required by the APA—showing that the graphic warnings will “directly advance” its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke. FDA makes much of the “international consensus” surrounding the effectiveness of large graphic warnings, but offers no evidence showing that such warnings have directly caused a material decrease in smoking rates in any of the countries that now require them...."
Our FDA is acting under the Family Smoking Prevention And Tobacco Control legislation, which aims to prevent smoking and promote its cessation, without expressly banning tobacco products.

UPDATED 08/17/2012 Reuters, UPDATE 1-"Alarming" smoking habits found in poorer countries
"...The WHO says tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke."


1. Weaponry used in warring is the promotion of usage of a product that when used as intended has a scientific certainty of killing other nation's citizenry—should an exported cigarette be characterized as weaponry?

Current cigarette consumption in the United States has been estimated by the CDC at Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco—United States, 2000–2011, August 3, 2012 / 61(30);565-569

2. It seems useful to note that if no nation operated a perverse legal system then "its citizenry" could be changed to "human beings".

3. The rapidly developing field of genomics and related fields will likely routinely demonstrate to a scientific certainty that a product is harmful to human beings—corporate commercial speech rights, however interpreted by our U.S. Supreme Court must not enable mischief to that scientific process and progress.

4. Corporate entities are inanimate objects created and chartered by governments—speech is typically not an attribute one associates with inanimate objects—much less constitutionally protected speech that its creator or charter cannot alter.

5. UPDATED 06/23/2016 The Supreme Court recently ruled that the European Union could not criminally pursue RJR Nabisco Inc. under the RICO statute ( RJR Nabisco Inc. v. The European Community, No. 15-138) for claimed injury extraterritorial to the United States. (NYT, Supreme Court Sides With R.J. Reynolds in RICO Case)

This ruling should not prevent the subsequent assertion of criminal and civil logic, which continually holds "big tobacco" responsible and accountable for all harm their activities (both territorial and extraterritorial) inflict.

6. Some might argue that "Big Tobacco", in addition to perpetually paying for all the harm their product continues to inflict must fund the basic, applied,and clinical research, which will help every addicted tobacco users to precisely and exclusively block nicotine's cell porin pathway action.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

San Francisco Housing Homeless

Originally Published April 24, 2014; Last Updated October 18, 2016; Last Republished October 18, 2016:

San Francisco has discovered that ending homelessness begins with housing1—unsurprisingly, the homeless may travel multiple pathways when participating in our civil society structures.

San Francisco may next discover that solutions to homelessness cannot be grafted onto our non-economic systems, but must be directly integrated within our economic system2.


UPDATED 12/12/2015 CRS, Chronic Homelessness: Background, Research, and Outcome (courtesy of FAS)

As we begin to understand and solve systemic homelessness it will be important to frequently remind ourselves and others that "prayer" is not a plan or substitute for allocation of necessary and sufficient resources.


UPDATED 10/18/2016 UnivRichmond, Mapping Inequality Redlining in New Deal America, San Francisco

Too often past responses to perceived problems are prologue to solving the problems tomorrow.

UPDATED 08/09/2016 SFExaminer, Safe SROs are vital to SF’s low-income housing option and SFDPH, Draft Single Room Occupancy Hotels in San Francisco A Health Impact Assessment – Executive Summary 2016 and SFDPH, Improving theHealth of Residentsin SRO Hotels Final Power Point Slide Aug 2016  and SFDHP, Strategies to Improve Food Security Among “Single” Residents of San Francisco’s SROs Mar 2016 and SFDPH, Improving Health in SROs Health Impact Assessment 2014

UPDATED 12/21/2015 CSM, An end to homelessness: Cities take on 'impossible' challenge

UPDATED 08/29/2015 SFChron, Combatting homelessness requires making tough choices
If you're plan is to "combat" homelessness your plan has failed before it has begun.

UPDATED 07/11/2015 Atlantic, The Best Way to End Homelessness Includes links to demographic data. 

UPDATED 06/27/2015 SC, SC, Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (slip opinion pdf)

The eventual positive impact on our civil society of this case will likely equal or exceed those of King v. Burwell or Obergefell v. Hodges , which are both currently and justifiably the focus of much celebration.

UPDATED 04/04/2015 SFExaminer, Jailing the Homeless Perpetuates Problem

It not only perpetuates the problem, it exacerbates and demonstrates a gross ignorance of the problem.

Eventually, our nation will ensure every citizen-resident is habitabily housed, regardless of their inability to pay or reason for homelessness, but evidently not until we've tried every other alternative, regardless of how inefficient, ineffective, inane, or inhumane!

UPDATED 01/15/2015 SFExaminer, Ed Lee to put focus on housing in State of the City address

Ensuring each citizen-resident has continuous access to habitable housing is not a "below market" exercise—it's an "all market" exercise.

The idea that any of our citizenry is homeless because they queue on an arbitrarily "below market" segment of an arbitrary housing market gradient seems absurd, at best.

Any homeless citizen-resident is a housing market failure—calling it a "below market" housing failure does not eliminate or excuse that failure.

UPDATED 12/27/2014 OutbreakToday, San Francisco Reports Spike in Shigella Infection, Homeless Hit Especially Hard

Just another reason, from a developing long list of reasons to ensure each and every one of our citizen-residents has continuous access to sustainable shelter, healthcare, nutrition, and education.

It's shocking that we have so long tolerated and many times proudly praise economic schemes4 incapable of ensuring each and every one of our citizen-residents has continuous access to sustainable shelter, healthcare, nutrition, and education.

UPDATED 12/18/2014 SFExaminer, Nonprofit Offers Expanded Shelter Resources to Homeless Families during Winter

A waiting list for any "emergency shelter" or service is by definition not an "emergency shelter" or service. At best is a non-responsive system to a fundamental need and requirement of our citizens and residents—at worst it is a grossly negligent and indifferent system to all their fundamental needs and requirements.

Unfortunately, it has become fashionable to publish "homelessness stories" during our holiday season then return to business as usual for the remainder of the year, which generally includes enormous "waiting lists" and "queues" for sporadic access to even the most basic and fundamental of human needs such as shelter, healthcare, nutrition, and education.

Our civil society objectives should not be to make access to these basic human services so ineffective, inefficient, painful, miserly or minimal that collecting bottles, aluminum cans and coding to arbitrage or auction public parking become or qualify as career or growth opportunities, by comparison!

UPDATED 11/17/2014 UPI, President Obama wants to end homelessness by the year 2020 and NCFH, Child Homelessness:America’s Youngest Outcasts (report pdf)

It will take until 2020 just to eliminate all the myths successive governments and some citizens perpetuate about homelessness, typically in an effort to do little or nothing to eradicate it.

Perhaps our President intends to ignore all the mythology, proceeding directly to eradicate the homelessness scourge from our nation—one-fourth of the minimum required of any “exceptional” nation (the other three-fourths being citizenry’s continuous access to nutrition, healthcare and education)!

UPDATED 04/24/2014  KQED Forum, Is San Francisco Effectively Fighting Homelessness?

It's fantastic that discussions on homelessness are beginning to occur more frequently.

Instead of directly integrating homelessness into our economic system, homelessness is treated as an unexpected aberration or defect that surprises and shocks our economic system.3

Homelessness is then grafted onto a hodge-podge of non-economic systems where ephemeral strategies are abundant and solutions more rare than winning a lottery.

SFGate Blog,  No longer homeless, but they act that way


1. Before saying "duh" consider that most American cities are decades away from making this discovery, if they ever do—it's difficult to discover solutions to a problem you're busy hiding, denying, ignoring or shifting. The logic is deceptively simple and incorrect; homelessness is inconsistent with the expectations of our economic system.

2. Typically, many putative solutions to homelessness have presumed an individual has some moral defect (why else would they be homeless) that requires correction before that individual is redeemed and partially "reintegrated" into civil society. Unsurprisingly religion and churches have played a primary and dominant, if ineffective role in "reintegrating" our homeless.

Integrating solutions to homelessness directly within our economic system does not presume any moral defect or depend on any religion or church. Of course some individuals' pathway may involve religions and churches, but their participation in our civil society structures must not be constrained by any religion or church.

3. It seems bizarre that an advanced economy would depend on the luck of lottery or arbitrary self interested generosity to ensure all their citizenry have continuous and unconditional access to basic nutrition, shelter, healthcare and education.

4. Until the economic schemes unwind and all prior praise morphs in to vociferous condemnation amid protestations that the schema was too complex to understand. It's unclear why schema, which are too complex to understand are not simultaneously too complex to proceed?

Elite Women Cyclists Racing Like Men

Recently, elite woman Australian cyclist Carlee Taylor demonstrates that women race just like the men (minus ubiquitous doping1)—unfortunately, the camera did not stick around to record her unbelievably determined race reentry.

Reminds me of multiple Grand Tours winner Bernard Hinault's racing determination:


UPDATED 09/14/2015 WC, The bicycling big book of cycling for beginners : everything a new cyclist needs to know to gear up and start riding (Preview) An easy to read book for women (and men) just beginning their foray into cycling.


UPDATED 08/12/2016 UKMirror, Annemiek van Vleuten provides update on condition as she posts first picture since Olympics horror smash and CyclingNews, MRI reveals no further injury for van Vleuten and UCI, Final Results Rio 2016 Women's Road Race (pdf)

Pirouetting on the front wheel is a skill best performed by an elite trials cyclist, not an elite road cyclist during a 45-50 mph descent!

Rio UCI Results, Women's Individual Time Trial and (VeloNews, Kristin Armstrong wins third Olympic time trial in Rio)


Unofficial Unsanctioned Women's UCI Cycling Blog, Giro Rosa 2015
Procyclingstats, 2015, Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (2.1) - Results
Cyclingfans, 2015 Giro Rosa Live
Wikipedia, 2015 Giro d'Italia Femminile

Other Races:

World Champion Armitstead and World Time-Trial Champion van Dijk team up and pull the National Champion Majerus to a stage win—pretty classy!

Aviva 2016, Stage 1

Commentators Sarah and Hugh do a great job of informing this year's Aviva Women's Tour and decidedly more difficult and exciting racing.

Elegant Cycle Racing!
    Other Race News:

    UPDATED 08/08/2016 UCI, Van der Breggen takes the Netherlands' second straight gold in women’s Olympic road race
    UPDATED 05/201/2016 Felt Bicycle, Rio Olymics Women's Pursuit Track Cycling Team

    Felt Development, FSA, and HED team up to design an asymmetric track cycling frame (TA-FRD), which has been optimized for the Rio 2016 women's team pursuit track cycling team.

    UPDATED 03/02/2016 Velo, Preview: Women’s cycling’s biggest year ever
    UPDATED 02/27/2016 Velo, Live coverage: Evelyn Stevens hour record and Velo, Evelyn Stevens will attempt to break UCI hour record "She will use a Specialized Shiv modified for the track with a Zipp 900 front wheel and a Super 9 rear disc, and a Bioracer skinsuit." CyclingNews

    UPDATED 02/05/2016 WiggleHonda, A Chat with the Best, Eddy Merckx

    What a fantastic video and moment for women's elite cycling!

    UPDATED 01/22/2016 Velo,Australian O’Donnell breaks women’s hour record
    UPDATED 12/07/2015 Velo, 2015 Velo Awards: Ferrand-Prevot is International Cyclist of the Year
    UPDATED 10/05/2015 Road to Richmond with the US Women's Team

    UPDATED 09/29/2015 VCU Exercise Science: Professional Cyclist Evie Stevens Interview VCU ALT Lab

    UPDATED 08/28/2015  2015 Pro Challenge Women's First Inaugural Kickoff Press Conference 

    Marianne Vos and Emma Johannes are beginning to mentor the younger women riders and racers, which will significantly benefit formative women's cycling.



    1. UPDATED 09/15/2016 Velo, WADA hack no big deal for Froome and Wiggins WADA has augmented a cycling (and other sports) doping problem with an abusive "TUEs" (Therapeutic Use Exemption) problems.

    UPDATED 08/12/2016 CyclingNews, Armitstead: People will think I'm a cheat for the rest of my life and BBC, Rio 2016 Olympics: Lizzie Armitstead defends missed drugs tests and VeloNews, Armitstead issues statement on missed anti-doping controls

    A leading professional cyclist, especially one wearing the magical rainbow jersey who provides a pattern or series of jeremiad instead of randomly drawn blood and urine samples through the "whereabouts system" should expect a lot of skepticism.

    Inside an Anti-doping Laboratory

    LiveScience, The 'Doping Arms Race': How Athletes Evade Testing As the costs decrease and automated screening efficiency using large micro-arrays increases the imaginations of cheating athletes, coaches, and boutique chemists will begin to lag. When coupled with certain, credible, and effective career ending suspensions from competition the short-term appeal to use unauthorized (i.e. noncompetitive) performance enhancing methods will begin to lag, too.

    Kudos to UKAD for its strict efforts to make sure cyclists [and other athletes] compete clean. Also, WADA Whereabouts Q&A and CleanSportsBlog, Understanding the Whereabouts System

    UPDATED 08/02/2016 VeloNews, Lizzie, we need answers [...and fast]  How does a domestic federation clear an elite cyclist that misses four three "out of competition" drug tests?

    UPDATED 07/28/2016 UCI, UCI statement on the eligibility of Russian riders at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and CyclingNews, UCI confirms three Russian cyclists withdrawn from Olympic Games
    "The UCI is absolutely committed to protecting the rights of clean athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond." --UCI, July 28, 2016--
    ..not to mention preserving the sport of elite cycling...cyclists bans, exemptions, and performances across time will be more meaningful than press announcements.

    UPDATED 07/21/2016 BBC, Rio Olympics 2016: Russia fails to overturn athlete ban for next month's Games

    UPDATED 07/18/2016 Reuters, IOC vows 'toughest sanctions' after report confirms Moscow's broad collusion in doping

    UPDATED 06/27/2016 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Doping (HBO) Even a serious issue needs humor:

    UPDATED 06/06/2016 Velo, American cycling has a doping problem, and it’s no longer at the top

    UPDATED 04/18/2016 CyclingNews,  Bugno calls on UCI to use heat cameras to detect mechanical doping It's encouraging that the doping debate is shifting to effective and efficient methods for preventing mechanical doping. Is the biological-passport (aka b-passport) growing accuracy and precision causing the shift?

    UPDATED 03/13/2016 NYT, Wave of Positive Tests for Meldonium Adds to Doping Crisis

    It's astonishing that a sports MD would say a drug, which increases blood flows and hence oxygen is not performance enhancing. Such statements buttress the argument against team or private doctors for professional and elite cyclists—every rider uses a trained and certified doctor from the peloton pool.

    UPDATED 11/20/2015 CyclingWeekly, WADA finds Russia and five others non-compliant with anti-doping code and UCI president Brian Cookson responds to athletics doping scandal

    Heightened awareness of peloton doping, biological passports, team or individuals’ doctor's notes, or national lab countermand tests are not substitutes for independent routine, rigorous drug testing and permanent peloton disqualification of all doped racer.

    UPDATED 11/19/2015 VeloNews, Anti-doping is coming to masters and amateur racing

    UPDATED 11/18/2015 Atlantic, Can Russia Clean Up in Time for the Olympics?  Don't forget the doctors!

    Training regimens for serious amateur and professional cyclists requires input and oversight from competent sports doctors to minimize the possibility of cyclists' injury. However, this does not mean every amateur and pro team or individual riders require their own personal sports doctor.

    UPDATED 11/16/2015 Reuters, Russia proposes its athletes compete under Russian Olympic flag to evade ban

    UPDATED 11/13/2015 VeloNews, Cookson: We couldn’t run pro cycling without dopers Fine, let the men's pro-cycling peloton completely implode, if necessary to clear the ubiquitous doping and dopers! UCI can focus its resources on building a clean women's peloton.

    We'll see if the women's pro-cycling peloton can exist and thrive without the doping, dopers and their indispensable (some might say indefensible) doctors?

    UPDATED 11/10/2016 NYT, Drugs Pervade Sport in Russia, World Anti-Doping Agency Report Finds

    The Independent Commission (IC) is created by decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President following allegations of doping aired between 3rd and 8th December 2014 by the German television channel ARD.

    Independent Commission's Final Report dated November 09, 2015


    Originally Published July 10, 2015: Last Updated  October 18, 2016; Last Republished October 18, 2016: