Monday, July 21, 2008

Hot Under the Collar: Relevant News Flash (7:7)

So, back in the driver's seat, and let's get up to speed shall we. I warn you, I'm a little fired up today, so get in, fasten up, and enjoy the ride:
  • Let's kick it off with a bang. Michael Savage. Let it sink in a moment. What has he said now? Nothing less than the fact, according to him that is, that 99% of Autistic children are just...wait for it...brats. I have really nothing else to say. Except this: his colleague tries to mitigate this latest in a long line of incendiary utterances by reminding us that Savage is basically an entertainer. I am most assuredly NOT entertained, and I wonder about those that consider this individual a legitimate cultural and political commentator.
  • Speaking of people that make my blood boil, let's keep the party going: Jerry Brown. The current Attorney General of the state of California, former mayor of Oakland, CA, who is also mulling over a reprisal of his previous post as Governor, has a mission to move citizens out of the suburbs, which are the site of sprawling waste in his estimation, and moving them into high density housing around California's urban centers. Never mind what originally drove people to the suburbs, namely his father's policies, and a completely understandable desire to live in a manner a little less like a cockroach. Jerry Brown has an amazing ability to live in Jerry Brown land, and has a penchant for making it his way or the highway. I once encountered Jerry Brown on a street in Oakland, after exiting a meeting, or I should say I encountered first his dog, making a bee line for me, followed nonchalantly behind by the then Mayor of Oakland. Nothing particularly extraordinary there, except that one should consider that at the time the famous dog mauling case was all the rage across the bay in San Francisco, and though I could tell that this dog was a friendly sort, there was Jerry Brown in Jerry Brown land, letting his dog off leash in the streets of Oakland, oblivious that maybe, just maybe, it might unnerve the unsuspecting stranger coming around the corner. He didn't get it then, and he doesn't get it now.
  • Moving right along: painting women into a corner by limiting their reproductive choices. There is a very worrisome effort afoot by the Department of Health and Human Services, spurred on by the Bush administration to, as Hillary Clinton describes in her post on the Huffington Post today to "put in place new barriers to accessing common forms of contraception like birth control pills, emergency contraception and IUDs by labeling them 'abortion.' " Ostensibly the action is to protect those doctors and providers that deny contraceptives, and abortion services to patients based on religious and moral beliefs, but the wide scope of this definition puts access to basic contraceptive methods to those who need it the most at grave risk.
  • Continuing with the reproductive assaults assailing us, I say, get your bloody hands off my uterus will you! As I previously wrote, the AMA's recent resolution to mount a concerted effort to restrict, legislatively if they can manage it, women's ability to choose the location in which they give birth, namely not at home if they can help it due to "safety" concerns, is at odds with the findings and experiences of other industrialized nation's health care systems, which have found laboring at home in an uncomplicated pregnancy to generate highly successful outcomes, and in fact heartily endorses it. Jennifer Block writes an excellent op-ed in the LA Times delving into this frustrating disparity in approaches to women's health care and birth.
  • And finally, as I highlighted in a previous post, there are some very disturbing shenanigans afoot by major pharmaceutical companies in the third world, and they are using these populations as a giant laboratory, and it is alleged, part of the time, they are doing so without the consent of those they are experimenting upon. Recently, Nigerian authorities have issued warrants for the arrest of Pfizer officials in that country, alleging that drug trials were conducted on the population without the knowledge or consent of those they were administering an untested drug to during an illness outbreak, which they further allege resulted in deaths.

Ahhh...that feels better! Now that I've gotten that off my chest, here are some bits of news that don't make me want to stew, but rather pique my curiosity:

  • While I don't think this really validates Phil Gramms recent observations about the American public's current spate of "whininess," this next item does give one food for thought. Imagine the surprising headline that describes America as the "lone bright spot" amidst recent economic turmoil. My America you say? Am I reading The Onion? And when I read the full story, imagine further disbelief to learn that from the U.K. perspective, "The US is emerging as the one bright spot in the global gloom, despite the credit mayhem." Interesting. What's your take? Usually we are on the skewering end of the journalistic pen overseas.
  • Finally, perhaps what we all need is a good dose of "positive psychology" and "learned optimism." Roger Fransecky considers the background of the study of happiness, and discusses "the decision to be happy." He asserts that one "can choose between the ambiguity and clarity."

Right now it is unambiguous and perfectly clear to me that there are some serious challenges that we face, but I am positive that with the grace of God we are equal to the task. But let me steam about it a little. Now, where did I put that romance novel?

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