Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

In the News 10/21/08

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Newsweek did a piece investigating our health “care” system’s emergency rooms.  In the leading paragraph:

The modern emergency room, as most people think of it, has an emergency of its own: It’s packed, costly, noisy, and overrun by uninsured freeloaders who can’t legally be turned away once they walk through the ER doors. If you’ve actually been in an ER in the past few years, you know the first three things are true—but how much do you know about the rest of the people in the waiting room? As it turns out, they’re not disproportionately uninsured patients with nowhere else to turn. They’re more likely to be people who do have insurance.

A number of myths are taken apart in the interview with Dr. Manya Newton, an emergency physician at the University of Michigan.  Here’s just one: 85-90% of all emergency room visits are people with insurance.  The uninsured aren’t clogging the ER.

Will there be a 21st century Great Depression? With the increasing scope of the financial crisis, more people seem to think so.  Survival web sites are growing in popularity.

The impacts of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq won’t be known for years.  Already, the seeds of future problems in Iraq are being laid. John McCain likes to talk about how Iraq is one big happy country.  The truth: ascendent, new tribal leaders have been splitting up provinces into their own private fiefdoms, weakening the central government’s power and directly challenging the “democratic” system the neo-CONS put in place.   Almost 100,000 Sunni fighters are being paid by the U.S. to not attack U.S. military forces.  As Iraq’s government moves to expand its role, it has refused to accept these fighters into the official Iraqi military and police forces.  What happens when the Sunni fighters take up arms against the elected Iraqi government?  The U.S. created a situation where Iran will likely become a much stronger regional player.

The corporate media still loves Pickens’ (Insane) Plan. Switching from oil to natural gas makes no sense.  It will enrich Pickens and it will do nothing to alleviate the climate crisis. The U.S. needs to take bold steps toward zero-emission transportation.  Pickens would have us wait 10-30 years before doing so.  Meanwhile, the climate continues to be forced by humans.

The increase in families that are becoming homeless is described as ‘alarming’.  The CONServatives’ obsession with zero taxes has put state and local organizations in huge binds.  There is simply no money to appropriately address the problem.

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