Category: Health Care

Sutter nurses back on picket line w/poll

The original article is Via DEBORAH GOLDSMITH and POLY MANOLI report from the Bay Area on a 10-day strike by the California Nurses Association:

Health care in Iraq: Iraqis must wonder where it is

As long as you don’t need water, access to health care, have no concerns about public safety, don’t mind being unemployed, enjoy adventures as a refugee, aren’t worried the occupying forces are going to target you, and relish the challenge of living in a country with no to little infrastructure, daily life in Iraq is just peachy. Of course if any of those things might say have a negative impact on your ability to survive, then daily life is an ever changing lurch to avoid disaster.

The Red Cross managed to highlight just a few minor barriers for Iraqi citizens.

Among the discovered gems of reality….

Iraqi hospitals lack qualified staff and basic drugs, and facilities are not properly maintained, the Red Cross said

So…. Iraqis can have a fruitful productive life as long as they don’t get sick.

Public hospitals provide 30,000 beds, less than half of the 80,000 needed. Few Iraqis can afford to seek help in private clinics where consultations cost $2-$7 because the average daily wage in the country is less than $5.

And if you’re poor…. don’t get sick.

The Red Cross said Iraqi officials estimate that more than 2,200 doctors and nurses have been killed and more than 250 kidnapped since 2003

Even if you can find your way to the hospital with a few bucks for treatment, it might be hard to find anybody qualified to actually treat or care for you.

Water supplies have inconveniently deteriorated.

And the whole concept of “public water”, well turns out that whole personal choices and free market solutions mantra is alive and well.

At current prices, families with only one earner spend a third of their income – or about $50 a month – on water alone, the Red Cross said

Isn’t democracy great? You get to pay for your own water instead of having your civil rights violated by being forced to share clean, public water with other people. Who needs for hospital beds anyway, people should just toughen up and take better care of themselves while they are dodging bombs and bullets in the street.

EENR for Progress: Time to Fight Cancer

If you’re looking for a pie fight or for a joyful diary you won’t find it here. This installment of EENR tonight will be focused on one of the biggest killers in our country; cancer. There was good news released this past February that showed that deaths caused by cancer have decreased by 18.4% among men and 10.5% among women. That does not mean that we don’t need to fight this disease harder than ever. Here’s a snippet from the WAPO:

In 2008, an estimated 1,437,180 new cancers will be diagnosed, and 565,650 people will die of the disease, according to a report released Wednesday from the American Cancer Society (ACS)


Follow me below the fold…..

EENR for Progress: Health Care is a Human Right

Health care is a human right. In my own definition of the progressive movement, I count that as a basic progressive principle.

For various reasons, from my own personal perspective, it is simply unacceptable to settle for anything less than true universal health care. Some of those various reasons are my experiences with health care in the United States, as well as those of my friends and family, some of whom have serious or chronic conditions.

In tonight’s EENR for Progress, we look at why we need universal health care, proposals for universal health care, and what progressives can do to achieve it.

Do I Have To Kill Myself Before They’ll Help Me?

The “they” refers to the Human Service Center in Peoria, Illinois–but I’m getting ahead of myself. Last Friday night, I decided that I really couldn’t wait for my Feb. 29th appointment at the neighborhood clinic to start being treated for my depression/possible bipolar.

So, having found out that my friend who’d gotten the Cymbalta had gotten it after she’d called a crisis hotline and been directed to a free clinic, I called such a hotline.

The line was busy for about an hour. I started wondering if I was calling the right number, then took a break. Then started trying again and the phone rang on the second try.

Lights at Night Linked to Breast Cancer

Reprinted by permission from THE ENVIRONMENTALIST

A study of NASA satellite data, overlaid with reported cancer statistics, has identified nighttime exposure to lighted areas as a risk factor for breast cancer:

Women who live in neighborhoods with large amounts of nighttime illumination are more likely to get breast cancer than those who live in areas where nocturnal darkness prevails, according to an unusual study that overlaid satellite images of Earth onto cancer registries.

“By no means are we saying that light at night is the only or the major risk factor for breast cancer,” said Itai Kloog, of the University of Haifa, who led the new work. “But we found a clear and strong correlation that should be taken into consideration.”

Recommendation below the fold…

USA Today pokes Dems in the eye over health care

On health care reform, the choice between the Democratic and Republican candidates is crystal clear.  The two leading Democratic candidates tell the American people the truth about the American health care system – it is too expensive, leaves out 50 million people, and burdens employers.  One can argue that the Clinton and Obama plans do not go far enough toward creating universal single-payer coverage that citizens of other developed countries take for granted, but at least the Democrats are talking about steps toward solution.  By contrast, McCain and the Republicans offer nothing but tired rhetoric and more tax breaks for people that do not need them.  If you cannot afford health insurance, then putting aside money into a medical savings account is a cynical, if not blatantly cruel “solution” to the problem.  

This recent editorial in USA Today highlights the uphill battle we face as the media seek to muddy the waters and muddle the public.

The editorial notes that health care costs per person in the United States are double the per-capita rates in other countries, including Canada and the members of the European Union.  It grudgingly admits that many Americans lack health insurance and therefore access to quality care.  However, the rest is nothing but disinformation.

Men, women, and muscles

(originally at dailyKos)

A little bit about me, I am not a fitness expert, a personal trainer, a dietitian, or anything like that. I’ve got no training in this stuff, and anything I say is just my opinion.  I have, in the past, worked out fairly seriously for a number of years, read a lot, and sometimes worked out with a trainer.  Right now, I’m doing very little.

I’m going to say some stuff about men and women.  This is risky.  No matter how many hedges I throw in, some people will read this and yell about sexism.  But I’ll try.  What I say is based on my own observation and on discussion with trainers and on reading.  I KNOW there are exceptions to every rule, I KNOW not all women act the way I describe, nor do all men.  Finally, I also know that ‘man’ and ‘woman’ does not cover the gamut of sex.  But I have no experience of any gender variant people and exercise.  If you do, feel free to chime in.

A little anatomy

There are hundreds of muscles in the body. Fortunately, we are not going to be concerned with a lot of them.  I’ll say nothing about the muscles in the inner ear, or the hand, or the foot.  I’m only talking about relatively large, voluntary muscles.  It’s easy to find a chart of these using Google, so I am not going to risk copyright problems by pasting one here.  In terms of exercise, we can divide them into a few groups:

Arm (mostly upper arm, few people worry about their forearms)







In naming these, I use a mix of Latin and English names, following the general usage in gyms and common discourse.

In the arm, the biceps (front of the arm) moves forearm toward the upper arm, and the triceps (back of arm) moves it away from the upper arm.

In the leg, the quadriceps (front of leg) extends the lower leg (moves it away from the upper leg) and the hamstring muscles move it toward the upper leg

The main muscle in the chest is the pectorals, and these move the arms away from the chest.

The back has many muscles.  The erector spinae run along the spine, they extend the back; the latissimus dorsi are the large muscles on the outer part of the back, and they move the shoulder joint in various ways. The trapezius is on the upper back and moves the shoulder blades in various directions.  The rhomboids also move the shoulder blade.  

The main shoulder muscles are the deltoids which extend the arms in different directions, either overhead or out to the side.

The stomach has two main groups of muscles, the abdominals and the obliques. The abs flex the back, curling it in.  The obliques also flex the back, and they help in rotating the spine, as well.

The main muscle in the rear end is the gluteus maximus and it’s main function is to extend the upper leg.

What about fitness?

Why did I tell you all that? Well, it helps to know what the muscles do when you try to figure out how to exercise them.  

Reasons NOT to lift weights

People raise various objections to weight lifting; some legitimate and some not.  Some legitimate reasons:

  An injury or other condition.  If you’ve been injured, or if you have some medical condition, you should be treated by professionals.  

  It’s time consuming.  Well, yes. It is.

Some not so legitimate reasons:

  I don’t want to get ‘too big’ – I don’t want to look like Jay Cutler or Iris Kyle .  The short answer: Don’t worry, you won’t.  Slightly longer answer: A few hours a week in a gym will not make you into Mr. or Ms Olympia, anymore than playing basketball in the evening will get you into the NBA.  Not only do the hardcore bodybuilders workout for hours a day, but there are rumors that some of them may be taking drugs!  

 When I stop, the muscle will turn to fat.  Nope. Muscle can’t turn into fat, and fat can’t turn into muscle.  If you stop exercising, you will lose muscle.  If you eat a lot, you will gain fat.  

Reasons TO lift weights

Short version: You’ll look better, feel better, be healthier and be able to eat more while weighing more.

You’ll look better.  OK, opinions of how people should look vary.  If your ideal body is a stick thin fashion model (male or female) then weightlifting is not the way.  Other than that, though…. Well, men and women differ.  Both men and women tend to want flatter stomachs – that’s achievable.  Men tend to want bigger muscles all over.  That’s achievable.  Now, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that most women, when visualizing their ideal body, fail to notice how muscles fit in.  This is probably due to all sorts of messages from the media and general sexist attitudes.  

You’ll feel better.  OK, there will be some muscle soreness, but when I am in shape, I sleep better, I get fewer aches and pains, I get less ‘logy’.

You’ll be healthier.  I don’t know the details here, but I am sure it’s true.

You can weigh more (and eat more) and look just as good, or better.  If you’d like to raise your ‘ideal weight’ by 10 or 20 pounds, this is the way to do it.  What’s that? Weigh more, eat more, look better?  Yup.  The first thing is to throw those ‘ideal weight for height’ charts out in the garbage, and same with their slightly more sophisticated analogue, the body mass index.  The key thing is not how much you weigh, it’s how much fat you are carrying.  And you can weigh a lot while carrying very little fat.  Partly this is body type.  Some people have long legs for their height, some people have short legs for their height.  Similarly, people vary a lot in how long their necks are.  If you have long legs and a long neck, your ideal weight will be lower than someone of the same height who has short legs and a short neck.  Then there’s muscle.  Muscular people have high BMI, because BMI is flawed.  For instance, according to wikianswers the average fullback is 6’2″ and 240 pounds.  That gives a BMI of 30.8, which is obese.  Shall you tell them or shall I?  

A better way to tell your fitness is to take your height in inches and subtract your waist size in inches.  Ideally, this will be in the mid to upper 30s.  If it’s much higher, then you are pretty thin.  If it’s much lower, you may be kind of fat.  This works pretty well for men and women of average height – if you  are very short your ideal number is lower, if you are very tall, it’s higher.  So, for instance, I am 5’8″ and my waist is 36.  That’s 68-36 = 32 which shows I’m a bit fat (unfortunately accurate).  

When, where, how, what, with whom to exercise

When?  Ideally, you will do strength training 3 times a week, for about an hour each time.  Of course, you should also be doing some aerobics.  And, if you really do want to be a body builder, it’s more like 6 times a week for 3 hours each time.  Can’t manage 3 times a week?  Do once a week!  It’s still better than nothing

Where?  If you can afford it, a gym.  If you can’t afford a gym and have some space in your home, you can set something up – but I am no expert on that.

With whom?  If you can possibly afford it, it’s worth getting a professional trainer, at least for the first few sessions, and then once in a while.  There’s a lot to learn, and a good trainer can be a great help.  If you can’t afford a regular trainer, it’s good to have a workout partner.  Not only is this a safety thing on some exercises, but a partner can get you to work harder, and can check your form.  Also, if you have a workout partner, it’s harder to ‘forget’ to workout.

How?  Well, get a good book on exercises, and follow the form precisely.

Once you are used to the workouts, you should work a lot harder than you want to.  Ideally, you get to muscle failure on each exercise, but that’s very hard.  Muscle failure is when you literally cannot do one more rep.  OK, if you don’t workout that hard, there’s still benefit.  But there’s a lot more benefit if you can get to that point.

There are two key aspects of ‘how’, and it’s one area where men and women tend to differ.  Many women do exercises with perfect form, but they don’t ever increase the weight they use.  Many men increase the weight, but cheat.  When you first learn an exercise, start light, and master form.  Then, use a weight where you can do between 8 and 15 reps with good form.  When you can do 15 reps, increase the weight.

What exercises?  Well, as I said, get a good book.  But here are a few:

Stomach.  Three exercises, that can all be done at home.

  1.  Crunches.  Lie on back, knees bent, feet on floor, hands behind head.  Using your abs, lift your head and shoulders straight up toward the ceiling (do not curl), lower to the floor and repeat.  

immediately on finishing

 2. Leg raises. Lie on back, legs straight in air, hands under hips.  Using your abs, lift your butt so that your legs go straight up (not back over your shoulders).  Lower to the ground and repeat.  

immediately go into

3. Plank.  Roll over, put toes on floor and elbows on floor.  Make your body a straight line (like a plank).  Hold

Bicep.  There are a bazillion variations of a curl. In all, you hold a weight in your hand(s) and pull your hand toward your shoulder.  You can do this in various positions, with dumbbells or barbells.  I recommend sitting on a seat with back support and a bar for your feet, thus keeping your body still.  One key is to not move your elbows, or anything else, except your forearm.

Tricep.  Any exercise where you start with the arm bent and straighten it. One good one is the triceps cable pressdown , but with any triceps movement, the key is to keep the elbows close to the body and stationary.

Chest.  Any of a variety of bench press , where you lie on your back and press a weight from your chest until your arms are straight.

Thighs.  Be careful of knees.  The classic is the squat , but this is hard on knees; there are many variations.  Also good are leg extensions , which you need a machine for.  If you are working at home, lunges are good.

Hamstrings.   leg curls, which you need a machine for; I don’t know of a good home exercise for the back of the leg.

Calves.   Calf press , again, there are many variations.  Stand on something with your toes on it and your heels off, and press your body up until your toes are pointed

Butt – lunges and squats (see above) also work the butt.

Back – for the lats, the most common is the wide grip pulldown .  For the erectors and all the small muscles of the back, it’s the seated row

So, now what?

Long as this is, it’s only a tiny number of exercises.  The key now is to get moving!

Let the Sacrificing Begin

Note: This essay is crossposted from BlueRage and was first published before the actual presentation of the budget to Congress.  We’ve had some time to see what it contains and we’ve already heard that it is pretty much DOA.  It’s a lame-duck’s final quack with nothing for anyone.  The issue, “guns or butter,” is not going away and will only heat up as crunch time for the budget approaches this summer.  So..The Post:

It’s time to show our “support for the troops.”  The guns or butter debate will heat up in Congress over the budget for next year.  It seems that in order to support our 600 BILLION dollar defense budget, we face cuts in so-called “entitlements.”  The choice will become clear that we at home, through cuts in the social services that support US, will be asked to sacrifice so that our military will continue to be the biggest, baddest, and most expensive in the world. American Progress reports:

Why are people surprised? NIU and other shootings

Hey all,

Forgive me for being blunt here but I wonder why people get surprised that this happens and say they cannot understand the motivation behind it. These things never shock or surprise me because it is really a logical extension of humans who are put under stress with no support systems. Follow me over the flip..

Clinton, Obama Both Flawed On Health Care

In the middle of the mandate pie-fight (which just had a big ole can of gas dumped on it today by Paul Krugman), I think it’s important for folks to understand that – mandates aside – there’s still issues with both Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s health care plans that need to be addressed. I’m going to pick the big, blank area of each plan that leaves it open to attack, because my primary goal is to have a viable universal health care plan introduced by whoever wins the Democratic nomination (and then hopefully the presidency) as quickly as possible.

In Praise of the Kennedys

If you want to talk Democratic ideas, look no further than the Kennedy clan. They tend to be dismissed as People Magazine American Royalty, but that says more about our media than about them. With Senator Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy having endorsed Barack Obama, and with the Clinton campaign reminding voters that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend have already endorsed Hillary, the Kennedy family is back making headlines. That can only be a good thing.

The Clintons deserve credit for having made our national health care crisis a national issue, in the 1990s. Of course, their plan was a byzantine mess, and it didn’t go nearly far enough. For that matter, none of the current leading Democratic candidates advocate single-payer national health care, so they’re all offering but different flavors of incrementalism. No surprise. As I keep writing, despite the campaign rhetoric, they are all basically traditional Democratic centrists. Of course, as I also keep writing, even as the Democratic candidates approach the major issues with nothing revolutionary, the Republican candidates rarely even notice there are issues to approach. We can argue over the nuances of the incrementalist approaches of Senators Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, but if you want a good, cynical laugh, take a look at the Republican candidates’ approaches. But if you want to talk about vision and leadership on health care, look no further than Senator Kennedy. He wrote a book about it. In 1972. He’s been advocating for National Health Insurance since the 1970s. Among many other issues on which he has consistently been ahead of the times, he’s also been advocating for clean, renewable energy sources, since the 1970s. In our government, there is no greater champion for people, the environment, and innovative ideas than Senator Kennedy. And that has been the case for decades.

I’m also a particular fan of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. I’ve long hoped he’d get involved in electoral politics, but I also understand the many and complex reasons for his not doing so. But my admiration of Kennedy has nothing to do with his father or his family; it has everything to do with his ideas. No one better articulates the rationale for environmentalism. The most common criticism of environmentalism is that it’s bad for the economy, and fundamentally opposed to capitalism. In a 2005 speech at the Sierra Club’s National Convention, Kennedy turned that around. Environmentalism is not only not bad for capitalism, it is a means of rescuing true free-market capitalism.

Load more