Archive for December 2006
The U.S. health care system is a scandal and a disgrace. But maybe, just maybe, 2007 will be the year we start the move toward universal coverage.
In 2005, almost 47 million Americans — including more than 8 million children — were uninsured, and many more had inadequate insurance.
Apologists for our system try to minimize the significance of these numbers. Many of the uninsured, asserted the 2004 Economic Report of the President, “remain uninsured as a matter of choice.”
And then you wake up. A scathing article in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times described how insurers refuse to cover anyone with even the slightest hint of a pre-existing condition. People have been denied insurance for reasons that range from childhood asthma to a “past bout of jock itch.”
Some say that we can’t afford universal health care, even though every year lack of insurance plunges millions of Americans into severe financial distress and sends thousands to an early grave. But every other advanced country somehow manages to provide all its citizens with essential care. The only reason universal coverage seems hard to achieve here is the spectacular inefficiency of the U.S. health care system.
Americans spend more on health care per person than anyone else — almost twice as much as the French, whose medical care is among the best in the world. Yet we have the highest infant mortality and close to the lowest life expectancy of any wealthy nation. How do we do it?
Cranberry juice as sold in the supermarket—heavily sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup—is pretty awful stuff. But you can readily find (at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and health-food stores) pure cranberry juice or extract. Diluted with water with perhaps a squeeze of lime or lemon juice, it’s quite tasty. And good for you:
Drinking cranberry juice three times a day over the course of a month increased all the volunteers’ blood concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol—the so-called good cholesterol—by 10 percent. The juice didn’t affect low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or triglycerides, which are other fatty substances in the blood. However, epidemiological studies by others have correlated HDL-cholesterol increases of this magnitude with about a 40 percent drop in heart-disease risk, Vinson notes.
More at the link. Worth clicking. And tomorrow I’m picking up some pure cranberry juice (no sweetening) to make a pomegranate-cranberry drink.
Jet Li’s Fearless is a movie with martial arts that transcends the martial arts genre—like Hero and House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It tells a story based on an historical figure, Huo Yuanjia, and the role he played in providing China a hero at a time when it was known as “the sick man of Asia” and dominated by foreign occupiers.
Like the other three movies mentioned, Fearless is well worth viewing.
But some are practicing for it. The beginning grafs from this one:
One of the interesting implications of the Manassas Park pool hall case I’ve been following is that the initial police raid on the bar was conducting under the auspices of a state alcohol inspection. The raid was clearly part of a criminal investigation, but bringing the police in under the formality of an ABC inspection obviated the need for a search warrant.
This to me is the most troubling part of the recent federal circuit court ruling dismissing the civil rights suit filed by David Ruttenberg, the owner of the bar. The judge found that bringing 70+ police officers , some in ski-masks and pumping shot guns as they entered the bar, turning a business upside down, and handcuffing many of its customers — all for the alleged purpose of checking to make sure the bar was complying with Virginia’s alcohol regulations — was not so unreasonable as to violate the Fourth Amendment.
Read this excerpt from The World’s Worst: A Guide to the Most Disgusting, Hideous, Inept, and Dangerous People, Places, and Things on Earth. This one is one of the very worst of people.
Also: the very worst diet: Breatharianism, which involves no solid food or liquid, simply breathing and subsisting on pranic energy. The only drawback seems to be death from starvation as you develop the skill.