Tuesday, May 4th, 2021



A big trend is coming to mental health care. Let's call it putting the psych into psychedelics; or putting the MD into MDMA. The idea is that if you mix certain psychedelic drugs with talk therapy, you can advance the healing process. Of course, that's been one of the selling points of antidepressants for years. The difference now is the drugs being used. Mushrooms are coming. And so is Molly. A Psychedelic Drug Passes a Big Test for PTSD Treatment. "Those who received MDMA during therapy experienced a significantly greater reduction in the severity of their symptoms compared with those who received therapy and an inactive placebo. Two months after treatment, 67 percent of participants in the MDMA group no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD, compared with 32 percent in the placebo group." A drug known as ecstasy might end up best used for relief.


Growth Mindset

I'm a grower, not a show-er. Of course, I'm talking about my fingers and toes. Matthew Hutson in The New Yorker: Persuading the Body to Regenerate Its Limbs. "'Regeneration is not just for so-called lower animals,' Levin said, as an image of Prometheus appeared on the screen behind him. Deer can regenerate antlers; humans can regrow their liver. 'You may or may not know that human children below the age of approximately seven to eleven are able to regenerate their fingertips,' he told the audience. Why couldn't human-growth programs be activated for other body parts—severed limbs, failed organs, even brain tissue damaged by stroke?"


Teenage Case Land

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 12 to 15 by next week.

+ "I trust my own cells more than I trust pharmaceutical goop; I trust my own mind more than I trust liberal elites." The Atlantic's Derek Thomson asked vaccine-rejectors what they're thinking.

+ Also in The Atlantic: The Liberals Who Can't Quit Lockdown. (Being overly cautious has its societal costs and should be addressed. But it doesn't threaten your community members with death.)

+ "At a federal level, every effort to overcome vaccine hesitancy has health care professionals front and center. So if you've got a quarter of the nation's rural hospitals having less than 50% of their staff vaccinated, you have a problem that needs to be fixed now." Lagging COVID Vaccine Rate At Rural Hospitals.

+ "The emergence of these mind-changers suggests that at least some vaccine-wary Americans are willing to reconsider when their concerns are addressed by those they regard as credible." Yelling at those giving the vaccine the cold shoulder won't work. So what will? WaPo: The White House and public health experts study the Americans who went from ‘no' to ‘yes' on shots.

+ Get used to this story. Fighting Covid-19 could be a very long term struggle. "The two-dose vaccine has been shown to be about 95% effective against Covid two weeks after the second dose, though researchers who helped develop the shot now say they are beginning to see that strong protection wane over time." Booster shots, and possible yearly doses, could be required.



"At this pace of infection, India is probably only detecting 3 or 4% of its cases," says Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. "So we're talking about every day, maybe 5 million infections a day in India right now. That's a huge number." India Crosses 20 Million COVID-19 Cases As Critical Shortages Worsen.

+ "On April 26, an 18-month-old infant was found starving as he lay next to his mother's body. She had died two days before in her house in a small town in Maharashtra, the state with the highest number of cases in India. With the father away, the mother was by herself. Police say that neighbors didn't want to check on the family fearing COVID. Ultimately, the landlord called the police concerned about the stench and the baby was saved." Slate: The Children of India's COVID Surge. "This wave of the virus is hitting young adults hard—leaving countless children to fend for themselves."

+ India is experiencing the tragedy everyone fears during times of pandemic. And it's going to get worse. AP: Horrible weeks ahead as India's virus catastrophe worsens.


The Liars’ Club

"I have heard from members, concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message." So said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy as his party moves to punish Liz Cheney for not getting in line behind the big lie. (This era is not about subtleties and nuances. Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney are standing for truth and democratic norms. Right now, that's my team.)


Cap and Grown

"President Joe Biden formally raised the nation's cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 this year, weeks after facing bipartisan blowback for his delay in replacing the record-low ceiling set by former President Donald Trump."


Window Pains

"Melinda Gates said her marriage to Bill Gates is "irretrievably broken," according to court documents." (After 27 years, Melinda Gates finally gets to use a Mac.)


Payment or Pavement

"In the promotional video launching the product, product line manager Jayson Plummer called the vest 'a whole new era of a platform where analog meets digital and results in a superior protection story.' Which is an interesting way of framing the fact that the vest includes an additional subscription-based payment option that will block the vest from inflating if the payments don't go through." This Motorcycle Airbag Vest Will Stop Working If You Miss a Payment. (This is an extreme example, but more companies are looking to turn you from a buyer into a subscriber.)


Spears Point

Britney Spears Condemns ‘Hypocritical' Documentaries About Her."So many documentaries about me this year with other people's takes on my life … what can I say … I'm deeply flattered !!!! These documentaries are so hypocritical … they criticize the media and then do the same thing." (Britney definitely understands hypocritical better than Alanis understood ironic...)


Bottom of the News

"The children offered a mixed response to virtual learning, but one young lady explained that she liked it because you could eat during class when the teacher was distracted. This drew a chuckle from the president and first lady, and they laughed again when another young woman said that Zoom lessons often allowed children to 'take a little nap.'" The Bidens got some real talk about Zoom class from students. (Politics has gone from being all lies to being a little too honest.)

+ WaPo: Domino's is bringing back the Noid, a mascot that once drove a man to take hostages.

+ "We're getting people stopping into my business just to say thank you for making them smile." Welcome to the Canadian sign war.