Saturday, July 01, 2006


Remember when some scientists were saying that global warming would be a boon to agriculture, and that we could actually see a greening of the planet? Well, that turns out to be only partially true. It has been a boon to opportunistic plants (i.e. weeds and pests). If your allergies are suddenly worse, could be because of the 62% increase in ragweed spores. Poison Ivy is not only spreading it's range, but becoming increasingly toxic. Global warming also appears to be responsible for increasing West Nile virus and Malaria outbreaks. This according to the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

When the Bush administration tells you wages have been rising, it is the classic case of making numbers lie. The truth is, if you take the top 10% of wage earners out of the equation, the rest of us have lost an average of 1% a year to inflation for the last five years. STORY HERE

The US has the second highest infant mortality rate in all of the developed world. STORY HERE

According to a Duke University study, the average American has fewer close confidants that they did 20 years ago. When surveyed in 1984, the average American had three people with whom they could discuss important personal problems with. Today, the average person has two. Worse, almost 1/4 of Americans say they have no one to discuss these things with. Causes? Chief among them; Families work far more hours a week than they did twenty years ago. People live farther away from their jobs, and the long commutes also cut into time spent socializing. This is a really interesting study. STORY HERE

In the latest round of interleague play, the American league is just embarrassing the National league. Detroit is now 16-1 in this round of interleague play. The White Sox and Twins are 15-2. The Red Sox 14-3. The American league record is now 140-83 in head to head meetings with NL teams this year. The senior circuit is starting to play like the senior citizens circuit!

(5) -- My beloved D-backs have contributed a great deal to that record ... getting swept by Texas, Tampa Bay and Seattle. I unfortunately had to witness in person one of the Mariner games.
One of the things I love abotu my neighborhood is that you don't have to be isolationist if you don't want to be. We all sit outside most evenings and watch the kids and dogs run around and play while we talk. I love it!

The global warming thing needs to be hit harder by the media. We've noticed that our local news has been reporting mush more on weather anomolies, and the Nightly News has been doing the same for the most part. I think it's their way of talking about it without actually saying the words, "Global warming". Either way, our media had definitely dropped the ball in the last 6 years and it would be nice to see them pick it up again.

Teachers wages have definitely not been rising. In fact, Lord Bush and his Cabal are trying to lower our wages by making US responsible for the failures of the American education system, brought on largely by NCLB.

The halth system is one of the main reasons we're considering a move to Canada. Though their system isn't perfect, it's a hell of a lot better. We also have a very high infant mortality rate.
I'm very excited to see Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth". I think I'm also going to pick up the book. This planet is going to hell in a handbasket and frankly the majority of people could care less. I'm very afraid.
Hmm, I hear you about health care. I'm battling with my HMO right now. Sometimes I wonder why I bother having insurance at all if they are just going to deny coverage. :-/
#3 - while I agree that our health care system is totally fucked up, I don't think the infant mortality rate is because of the health care system itself. It's more the cause of poverty and cuts in social services. The rates are very disparate between the poor (and minority) vs. the rich (and white). Black children in the US actually have infant mortality rates on par with that of Afghanistan and other very poor countries.
Laura: Lack of universal health care is one of the prime reasons the infant mortality rate is so high.

While the rates are extremely high for blacks, they are also higher than average for the working poor, who make too much to get access to government programs, but not enough to afford good health care. These are the biggest victims of the health care system, the ones who get their care at the emergency room.
Yup, 1-4 are the story of my life. :(
On some level, we all knew these things (especially 5!!). But it's jarring to see them in print and realize that other people know they're true, too.
I sure as heck don't know any quick-fix solutions for most of these problems (especially 5!!), but I do know one way to combat social isolation: Stop socially isolating yourselves! Get out there into your communities and volunteer. Seriously. And don't drive your cars to get there, that might help with #1. :D
Bear: True, universal health care would help a lot. I do wonder, though, if the poor would still get stuck with worse doctors than the rich. Granted, some health care is better than none, but I'm not sure if universal health care would completely solve the problem either. That said, I'm totally for the US heading in that direction - privatized health insurance is expensive, a pain in the ass, and ensures that people with the most money get the best care.
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