Author: Andrew Rubin

A history of beginnings

On January 30, 1969 in Monson, Massachusetts, a small town about 10 miles east of Springfield, local school officials dismissed David Lucia, a high school English teacher, for growing a beard over the winter break and charged him with insubordination.  On January 30, 1969 newspapers reported that rising cases of a rare infant disease known as phocomelia, which shortens the limbs. The article quoted a geneticist from Northwestern University who observed that the syndrome is “being observed in babies born to hippies.” Holding up a green and white capsule for the media to see, the researcher declared that the “Hippies have no idea what they are taking and are taking it to weaken the effects of LSD. I have heard this through the rumor-mill,” he said. “The hippies’ babies’ limbs are short.” That same day, in an interview with his authorized biographer, John Lennon remarked that “people think we know what’s going on. We actually don’t really. We are just doing it.” On the same day, January 30, 1969, in response to students’ occupation of the London School of Economics, the British


Eugenics in Alabama?

April 10, 2020 The State of Alabama apparently had plans in place to ration the distribution of ventilators by singling out sick patients with intellectual disabilities. The guidelines–“Criteria for Mechanical Ventilator Triage Following Proclamation of Mass-Casualty Respiratory Emergency”– excludes an entire category of human beings from having access to ventilators even if they are in severe respiratory distress from COVID-19 and are, like many others in the acute phase of the bizarre disease, unable to breath on their own. According to the State’s criteria, Alabama hospitals are ordered to “not offer mechanical ventilator support for patients” with “severe or profound mental retardation” and “moderate to severe dementia.” The policy also applies to children with those conditions.  In March, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory opinion that held that the Alabama criteria were a violation of patients’ civil rights. Many touted the statement as a victory.  They failed to read the small print: The Department of Health and Human Services retains the right to exercise its “enforcement discretion” to prevent the state from actually following that criteria or not.


The End World Medicine?

On March 16, the editor-in-chief, as well as the two deputy editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) wrote an editorial on the poor quality of the hundreds of submissions, case reports, case studies, and reviews related to COVID-19 that its editors had received since January 1, when the journal first started reporting on the the deadly new virus, SARS-CoV2. Its editors observed that over the past two months JAMA had been receiving multiple articles possibly describing the same patient, creating “an inaccurate scientific record” that threatened to undermine the accuracy of future estimates of the “prevalence of the disease and outcomes.” The editorial on “Possible Reporting of the Same Patients With COVID-19 in Different Reports” went on to claim that this careless research had possibly grave consequences for the nation’s response to the pandemic: “The potential for harm that could accrue from this type of misleading reporting is particularly concerning for studies of COVID-19. They are related to a rapidly evolving pandemic with only limited information available for decision-making, so that inaccurate data and analyses not only affect