Thursday, December 30, 2010

Will Obamacare's Individual Health Coverage Mandate Survive Court Challenges? Holder Thinks So, but...

December 14, 2010, the day after a federal judge ruled against the individual mandate for coverage, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius wrote an opinion piece arguing, "Health reform will survive its legal fight," in the Washington Post.

But polls show that the mandate for individuals to get health insurance or face stiff financial penalties is proving to be a major part of the 2010 healthcare reform or overhaul that is highly unpopular.
A CNN poll earlier this week reported, "CNN Poll: Controversial health care provision unpopular:"
"According to the poll, six in ten oppose the requirement that all Americans get health insurance, with 38 percent saying they favor the provision."

This opposition can only worsen in the wake of Federal Judge Henry E. Hudson's (Virginia) striking down the health insurance mandate as unconstitutional.

The key is to frame the argument properly. The point needs to be disseminated, stronger and more widely, that health insurance is essential. Someone might not think that they need health care. But someday that surgery or other medical procedure, or hospital stay comes. Then, they owe 50,000 to 100,000 dollars.
The key is also to get the Americans and policy makers for that matter out of the myopic bubble of only looking at America. Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and others should have emphasized how other countries that have model health care systems also have health insurance mandates. As wikipedia informs us, It is a common legal requirement in many countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, and from 2014, the United States of America.

The public has reason to be angry at the powerful. The problem is that progressives have not been able to steer outrage at the proper targets: power-bloated abusive corporations and their lackey lobbyists and Demo-Republican politicians.
The failure for Democratic politicians to pursue a public option and instead, settle on the final form of the health care reform act, is the source of the problems with the discussion over Obamacare and problems with its fate.
There is no public entity (The public option) with which the private health corporations can compete, so as to hold back corporate chicanery in the form of price gouging of patients and prescription drug consumers. Advocates needed to have more vociferously pushed for the option, building coalitions, holding mass rallies. Instead, the health-care reform was an inside the Beltway affair. We can see this with the legislation's giveaway to the drug companies.
For a Huffington Post contribution on Obama's back-sliding away from the public option, see this Feb. 22 piece: "Obama Health Care Plan Drops Public Option."

(Obama first aired his support for the public option in September 2009, but some commentators, such as Ezra Klein in the Washington Post, have pointed to weaknesses in his push for the public option.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Times news alert: Madoff son dead from hanging, apparent suicide

Mark Madoff, the elder of two sons of scandal-ridden financier Bernie Madoff, hanged himself in his SoHo, Manhattan home, using a dog leash. The 46 year-old son's own son was sleeping in an adjacent room.
Mark Madoff worked for his father's firm since graduating from college in 1987. He was the target of two lawsuits related to the Madoff investment scandal. He had invested monies from his oldest childhood friends; those relationships were ruined in the wake of the scandal.
The New York Times story, "Madoff’s Eldest Son Found Dead in Suicide", reported to New York City Police this morning, December 11, 2010.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cell phones and wifi: Is Your Health on the Line? -Women's Health

Is Your Health on the Line?
-by Sascha de Gersdorff, Women's Health, Nov 10, 2010.

The new communication devices (cell phones, SmartPhones, iPhones, Blackberries, Androids) are pretty hard to resist.

But the safety of these devices is not yet assured. De Gersdorff offers practical advice on reducing electromagnetic exposure or radiation exposure for those of us who have a hard time abandoning the devices altogether.

The post I wrote, in reference to an article by Dr. Hyla Cass, cites two recent books on the subject. De Gersdorff in this article draws our attention to another book, by Kerry Crofton, Wireless Radiation Rescue: Safeguarding Your Family from the Risks of Electro-Pollution, 2010.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday TV Specials, for 2010 season

Holiday TV specials' broadcast times for 2010; times are Eastern and Pacific time zones.

Dec 7, Tues, A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965, ABC, 8 to 9
Dec 9, Thurs, Shrek the Halls, 2007, ABC, 8-9
Dec 11, Sat, Frosty the Snowman, 1969, CBS, 8 to 830. Frosty Returns, 1992, 830 – 9.

Dec 14, Tues, I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, 2003, ABC, 8 to 9
Dec 16, Thurs, A Charlie Brown Christmas, repeated, ABC, 8 to 9
Dec 17, Fri, Yes, Virginia (Tim Burton, 2009), CBS, 8 to 9; Frosty the Snowman, 1969, CBS, 9 to 930. Frosty Returns, 1992, 930 – 10.

Dec 30, Thurs, Happy New Year Charlie Brown, 1986, ABC, 8 to 830; She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, 1980, 830 to 9.

(Rudolph (1964), the Grinch (1966), and Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970) have passed. You'll have to buy or rent those.)

Dr. Hyla Cass on recent studies on cell phone radiation and related medical risks

Both Cell phones and electromagnetic fields are more dangerous than widely assumed, as growing numbers of news reports and academic studies are pointing out.
Hyla Cass, M.D., "Are Cell Phones and Wi-Fi Hazardous to Your Health?," Huffington Post, October 13, 2010.
She cites two recent books, Ann Louise Gittleman's "Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution." and
Devra Davis' "Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family."
Key excerpts in Dr. Cass' Huffington Post article:
The UK's BioInitiative Report of July 2007 (updated in 2009) describes hundreds of studies that link EMF exposure to Alzheimer's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), brain fog, cardiovascular disease, miscarriage, infertility, insomnia, learning impairment, as well as anxiety and depression. Wireless technologies -- like cell and cordless phones -- produce microwaves that increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, leading to changes in brain chemistry. Even low-level EMFs can cause brain cells to leak.

That's not all: Although actual tissue heating does not occur, EMFs also cause breaks in DNA, speed up cell division, disrupting the orderly process of chromosome matching and detaching, and activate stress protein or heat shock proteins. And as Anne Louise Gittleman writes in Zapped:

"Most disturbing of all, the Swedish National Institute for Working Life found that people using cell phones for 2,000 hours -- a total most of us could easily rack up over the years -- had a 240 percent increased risk for malignant brain tumors on the side of the head where they usually held their phone."
A related study from the Mercury News:
Chris O'Brien, "Why cell phones may be more dangerous than we think": updated, October 10, 2010:
An excerpt from this article reads,
Several players at the heart of this debate converged on San Francisco last week. CTIA-The Wireless Association had
its annual trade show, which it promised would be the last in the city because of the new disclosure law. Marks organized several protests outside the event. And noted epidemiologist Devra Davis, a visiting professor at Harvard University, arrived for several speaking engagements about her recently published book, "Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How To Protect Your Family."

"When I first heard that there could be problems with cell phones, I didn't believe it," Davis said. "I wrote the book because I was stunned to find out I was wrong to assume that these things had to be safe."

For many years it was believed the low levels of radiation generated by cell phones and towers had no effect on human biology. Now a small but growing number of scientists and health activists are challenging those findings.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Interpol Arrest Warrant for Dick Cheney? Nigeria to Charge Former VP in Bribery Scandal | AlterNet

Interpol Arrest Warrant for Dick Cheney? Nigeria to Charge Former VP in Bribery Scandal | AlterNet
If his Iraq War chicanery would not get him, perhaps his business dealings will do so.

Android, BlackBerry and other smart phones -highest bearing radation

Youch!! Just when you noticed that the Android or Droid phone is full of features and is significantly cheaper than other techie cell phones, such as the iPhone or other smart phones, news comes out that the Android is one of the highest emitters of radiation.
Check for yourself at the Environmental Working Group site: