A resident of South Central L.A. decided to combat obesity by planting a garden instead of grass. This guy is not just a gardener. He’s a brilliant entrepreneur and an inspiration. Somebody introduce him to Michelle Obama, quick…
A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA
Ron Finley | TED | Mar 13
________________________________________________________________________________ Artist and designer Ron Finley couldn’t help but notice what was going on in his backyard. “South Central Los Angeles,” he quips, “home of the drive-thru and the drive-by.” And it’s the drive-thru fast-food stands that contribute more to the area’s poor health and high mortality rate, with one in two kids contracting a curable disease like Type 2 diabetes.
Finley’s vision for a healthy, accessible “food forest” started with the curbside veggie garden he planted in the strip of dirt in front of his own house. When the city tried to shut it down, Finley’s fight gave voice to a larger movement that provides nourishment, empowerment, education — and healthy, hopeful futures — one urban garden at a time.
Following is an excerpt from Steven Brill’s excellent Time Magazine cover article on the exorbitant cost of Medical care in America. The bottom line is that American’s are being robbed blind by the healthcare and medical insurance professions and there isn’t a damned thing they can do about it. If Congress and the republicans get your blood boiling you better not read this…
Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
Steven Brill | Time Magazine | 21 Feb 13
Below is an excerpt of Steve Brill’s Special Report for TIME. Sean Recchi is a 42-Year-Old from Lancaster, Ohio, who was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
I got the idea for this article when I was visiting Rice University last year. As I was leaving the campus, which is just outside the central business district of Houston, I noticed a group of glass skyscrapers about a mile away lighting up the evening sky. The scene looked like Dubai. I was looking at the Texas Medical Center, a nearly 1,300-acre, 280-building complex of hospitals and related medial facilities, of which MD Anderson is the lead brand name. Medicine had obviously become a huge business. (In fact, of Houston’s top 10 employers, five are hospitals, including MD Anderson with 19,000 employees; three, led by ExxonMobil with 14,000 employees, are energy companies.) How did that happen? I wondered. Where’s all that money coming from? And where is it going? I have spent the past seven months trying to figure out by analyzing a variety of bills from hospitals like MD Anderson, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem.
When Steve Jobs died many people wondered who and where the next ‘Steve Jobs’ was. We may have one here. He even looks and sounds like him…
My 3 Cents 0n Cancer
Jack Andraka | TEDxSanJose | 13 Feb 13
Following the death of a close friend from pancreatic cancer, Jack Andraka, a freshman in high school, set out to find a way to detect this killer earlier and cheaper than the accepted methods of the medical establishment. The result was a new dipstick type diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer using a novel paper sensor, similar to that of the diabetic test strip. This strip tests for the level of mesothelin, a pancreatic cancer biomarker, to determine whether or not a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer. The test is over 90 percent accurate in detecting the presence of mesothelin. According to Andraka, it is also 168 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive (costing around three cents), over 400 times more sensitive than the current diagnostic tests and only takes five minutes to run. He says the test is also effective for detecting ovarian and lung cancer, due to the same mesothelin biomarker they have in common.
________________________________________________________________________________ Jack Andraka’s research, conducted at John Hopkins University could change the face of cancer and promote early detection. He has been selected as the Intel 2012 ISEF winner and has won awards at multiple national and international math competitions. Jack is on the national junior whitewater kayaking team and enjoys playing with his dog and folding origami.
Responding to the tragedy at Newtown, CT many people clamored for gun controls. In response, the NRA trotted out its absurd ‘remedy’ to put armed guards in elementary schools and supply teachers with machine guns. This debate has turned into a shouting match without end leading nowhere and accomplishing nothing. Meanwhile the nation waits for the next lunatic with a Glock to lay waste to more kids or teachers or whoever. Lost in the argument is the remarkable change that has occurred in the US over the past fifty years regarding care and treatment of mental disorders. The infrastructure of mental health in America has been largely eliminated, replaced by America’s favorite cure-all, drugs. This is the cost of government on the cheap. This is the price you pay when profits trump protection and care for those who suffer from diseases that can turn them into monsters. Give a monster a semi-auto Bushmaster and you’ve got a problem on your hands…
Our Failed Approach to Schizophrenia
Paul Steinberg | NYTimes | 26 Dec 12
Too many pendulums have swung in the wrong directions in the United States. I am not referring only to the bizarre all-or-nothing rhetoric around gun control, but to the swing in mental health care over the past 50 years: too little institutionalizing of teenagers and young adults (particularly men, generally more prone to violence) who have had a recent onset of schizophrenia; too little education about the public health impact of untreated mental illness; too few psychiatrists to talk about and treat severe mental disorders — even though the medications available in the past 15 to 20 years can be remarkably effective.
Instead we have too much concern about privacy, labeling and stereotyping, about the civil liberties of people who have horrifically distorted thinking. In our concern for the rights of people with mental illness, we have come to neglect the rights of ordinary Americans to be safe from the fear of being shot — at home and at schools, in movie theaters, houses of worship and shopping malls.
The following article appears on a blog called The Anarchist Soccer Mom. The writer chooses to be nameless but describes herself as “a total nerd who loves my Steinway, my four kids, and my fancy design software, not necessarily in that order.” She is also an incredible writer…
Thinking the Unthinkable
In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
The Anarchist Soccer Mom | 14 Dec 12
Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.
“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
America’s “War on Drugs” is actually a war on blacks, hispanics and the poor using drugs to rationalise the systematic imprisonment and disenfranchisement of millions of people. Lumped into these statistics are those who have been arrested, tried and convicted of ingesting a substance that has been in use by humans since the dawn of history yet which the Federal government considers more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine but worthy of more research as a source of medicinal aid and comfort. It is time this insane policy is ended. To their great credit the citizens of Washington and Colorado agree…
Marijuana Prohibition Should End
Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch | Nation of Change.com | 12 Nov 12
In the coming days and weeks, critics will try to minimize what voters in the US states of Colorado and Washington accomplished by backing referenda permitting marijuana legalization and regulation. They will likely produce puns and editorial gags about a legislative coup for “hippies” hosting patchouli-scented victory celebrations. They will be tempted to reduce the story to witticisms about hedonism and decadence in America’s free-thinking mountain states. But such reactions will be wrong.
In fact, America’s disastrous preoccupation with marijuana prohibition is more than a story of a relatively harmless substance being sent into legislative exile. Rather, it is part of the larger story of the country’s misguided “war on drugs,” which has resulted in the incarceration of more than two million people at any given time. It is a story of lawmakers branding young people with criminal records for actions that they may well have taken in their own youth – but without getting caught.
When I ride a bike where we live I am in direct competition for space with cars and trucks. They always win. Years ago the idea that people would stop smoking in public places was considered radical, impossible, crazy. Today providing well lit and safe bike paths everywhere is considered too costly, politically inconvenient, impossible. As gasoline prices and healthcare costs continue to rise that thinking will go up in smoke along with cigarettes…
I confess. I’m a bit of a Luddite. I find the gadget generation lacks something we had when growing up. Nevertheless, I must admit technology can do some pretty amazing things these days. Like printing a prosthetic arm, for instance…
This video may strike some as old news. It has, after all, been a week or so since the Supreme Court issued its stunning announcement regarding the constitutionality of “ObamaCare”. One oft-heard criticism of the administration is that they have done a poor job of explaining the healthcare law. Aside from ‘Death Panels’ and ‘taxes on the middle class’ disguised as penalties, we really have not had much to go on in assessing what this law is all about. Or so they say. So that’s why I’m posting this video. Here you are folks. Listen up!