RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Katy Talento, religiously inspired anti-birth-control activist.

Katy Talento is slated to be Trump's health care policy wonk on the domestic policy council. Her entire credentials seem to be that he is a 'Harvard-trained epidemiologist' (She has a masters in public health), and that she's spent many years as a political staffer for the Republicans. As far as I can tell, she has never worked as an epidemiologist per se, though she lists her specialty as 'the control of mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria and Dengue.'

She's the author of two worrisome articles about contraception. In the first "Ladies: Is Birth Control The Mother Of All Medical Malpractice?", she describes the ingredients of birth-control pills, twice, as "dangerous, carcinogenic chemicals". Well, no, they're not; some forms of contraception contain purely natural hormones that all of us (including men, BTW) have in our bodies. Progestin based pills may in fact ward off cancer: oral contraceptive use has consistently been found to be associated with a reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. They're certainly not carcinogens, although some forms of cancer (breast, notably) can be aggravated by estrogens -- because estrogens stimulate breast cells. Furthermore, anyone using 'chemicals' as a pejorative should be mocked; any scientist who uses it thusly should be unemployed. And she, like most Democrats, raises the specter of 'big pharma'. Very conservative. In the second article, "Miscarriage Of Justice: Is Big Pharma Breaking Your Uterus?", she attacks her boogeyman again.

The pharmacology of steroid hormones, natural and synthetic, is not her area of competence, so evidently she feels free to write tendentious crap that happens to follow her Roman-Catholic faith. She likes, instead, 'fertility-tracking', i.e. the rhythm method. My parents had six kids on the rhythm method.

I'm past being shocked by the incompetence of Trump' nominees. But this is worse: touting that this is one's area of expertise, and then substituting one's religious dogma for the consensus of the field.

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