Archive for November, 2009

no money to be made

Monday, November 30th, 2009

health business cartoon

What angers me is the minds that sit around figuring out ways to make money off of our misfortunes.  There are boardrooms full of people trying to figure out how to pocket some cash.  I call them clipboard carriers.  Administrators are rewarded for making money rather than  for providing amazing results for the health of a community.  I worked with an occupational therapist who was so inspiring to me and others as we watched her bring smiles to the depressed and life to those ready to give up.  She was let go because she didn’t generate enough income for the little rural hospital.  Hospitals are not factories.  They don’t have assembly lines.  Hospitals are full of real people with real problems and sometimes fixing those problems just doesn’t make anyone any money.

Dr. William D. wrote a blog that made me think,  then again maybe they are factories?…

“. . . the life of the pig has moved out of view; when’s the last time you saw a pig in person? Meat comes from the grocery store, where it is cut and packaged to look as little like parts of animals as possible. The disappearance of animals from our lives has opened a space in which there’s no reality check on the sentiment or the brutality. . .”

The same disconnect has occurred in healthcare for the heart. The emotional distance thrust between the hospital-employed primary care physician, the procedure-driven cardiologist, the crammed-into-a-niche electrophysiologist (heart rhythm specialist) or cardiothoracic surgeon whose principal concerns are procedures—with an eye always towards litigation risk—mimics factory farms that now litter the landscape of the Midwest. The hospitals and doctors who deliver the process see us less as human beings and more as the next profit opportunity.

The “factory hospital” has allowed the subjugation of humans into the service of procedural volume, all in the name of fattening revenues. Never mind that people are not (usually) killed outright but subjected to a succession of life-disrupting procedures over many years. But whether livestock in a factory farm or humans in a factory hospital, the net result to the people controlling the process is identical: increased profits.

The system doesn’t grow to meet market demand, but to grow profits. The myth that allows this growth is perpetuated by the participants who stand to gain from that growth.

See hospitals for what they are: businesses. Despite most hospitals retaining “Saint” in their name, there is no longer anything saintly or charitable about these commercial operations. They are every bit as profit-seeking as GE, Enron, or Mobil.

I think most of us really do care about people and their individual health.  We just need to care less about profits.


American Freedom

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

american freedom

Enough said?

Well, maybe I’ll just add this…

Just 16 of the world’s largest container ships can produce more pollution more than all the cars on the planet.

In an editorial report in Britain’s Daily Mail, an award-winning science writer Fred Pearce, author of Confessions of an Eco Sinner, writes that the super-ships that keep the West in everything from Christmas gifts to computers pump out killer chemicals linked to thousands of deaths because of the filthy fuel they use.
”As ships get bigger, the pollution is getting worse. The most staggering statistic of all is that just 16 of the world’s largest ships can produce as much lung-clogging sulphur pollution as all the world’s cars.”

In today’s world ships are used to transfer everything from oil to electronics and as the demand for cheap consumer goods increase, so does the number of ships needed to transport goods around the world.

There are about 100,000 commercial ships at sea, importing and exporting goods all over the world. Many of them burn marine heavy fuel, or “bunker fuel”, that is high in sulphur content – the result is that the ships’ fuel is extremely dirty and polluting.

Thanks to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules, the largest ships can each emit as much as 5,000 tons of sulfur in a year — the same as 50 million typical cars, each emitting an average of 100 grams of sulfur a year.

With an estimated 800 million cars driving around the planet, that means 16 super-ships can emit as much sulphur as the world fleet of cars.

Ship emissions expert James Corbett of the University of Delaware calculates a worldwide death toll of about 64,000 a year. He expects that figure to rise to 87,000 deaths a year by 2012.


something majestic

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

I found this to be amazing.  We are all so guilty of being captured by marketing and packaging.  If you put a young man playing a 3.5 million dollar Stradivarius violin in the middle of a subway line rather than a concert hall, no one stops to listen.  The marketing isn’t right?  I think the timing wasn’t right.  People trying to get to work on time cannot take the time to stop and listen even if they wanted to.

We don’t leave for work a little early because there might be a concert violinist playing at the subway station. I was late for class once though because the greatest classic guitar player in the world (in my opinion) was playing in the cafeteria at Broward Community College. (I called it beer can college, I loved it there)  He played all the parts of Bohemian Rhapsody and gave it a Spanish flair.  He was a foreign student from South America (Brazil I think) practicing for his final exam in his music class.  I hope he is living a happy life.


MusicianSomething to think about….

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

What do you suppose was learned from this experiment?

maybe that is why we drive slower as we age.  We learn from missing out to take in the journey more so then the destination.  Leave a little earlier on your way to work or school, because something majestic is always happening somewhere.

simple bird

smarter, gentler

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Well, hello.  Are you lunch?

A Polar bear dives underwater.

This diver is hitching a ride on the fin of a 50 foot female humpback whale in the Pacific Ocean.

Wildlife photographer James D. Watt photographing Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, Pacific Ocean. A moment of contact. This fully-grown, 50 foot female humpback whale was so curious she sought physical contact with this diver. She was so big and m

These are manta rays feeding on plankton.  I think if I saw them coming at me I wouldn’t stop to take a picture. I’d be glad they were eating plankton and not me.  Did you know manta rays are related to sharks.  They’re brains are bigger though, so, they’re smarter and gentler.  I wonder if all species get gentler as they get smarter?


Remind you of a Chevron or Monsanto CEO?

Bruce Yates loves taking pictures underwater, and the investment manager obviously has spent a long in the water because the wildlife is starting to recognise him!  Bruce took this image of a smiling lemon shark in The Bahamas as it swam a few inches from

This smiling great white brings to mind former Congressman Richard Baker from Louisiana. He reportedly, took home a salary of One million in 2008 in the hedge fund industry.  The hedge fund billionaires hired him while he was still overseeing the House Financial Subcommittee on Capital Markets.  That seems fishy doesn’t it?

A diver has captured a photograph of a great white shark approaching his camera with a toothy grin like that of Bruce, the terror of the 2003 film Finding Nemo

Look at this Beluga Whale blowing bubbles!  You just want to hug him.

A beluga whale exhails a bubble ring as part of a performance at the aquarium AQUAS in Hamada, some 700 km (434 miles) southwest from Tokyo, on July 26, 2008.  Beluga whales in a Japanese aquarium have attracted thousands of visitors this summer but not b

Last but not least I didn’t want to leave out this little sparkly fellow

Colourful nudibranchs commonly known as sea slugs photographed by Thomas Vignaud off the coast of southern France

I got all of these pictures from the earth picture galleries at www,

empty seats in the senate

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

pure joy

There is evidence that a student of Aristotle noticed and documented how human activities disrupted the climate back in 300 BC. Now, I’m not sure how anyone is sure about what was said in 300 BC, but, I am sure that my fifth grade teacher taught us (many years ago) how human activity disrupts the climate.

I wasn’t a student as long ago as Aristotle, but, science has recognized and studied the problem for long enough. My weekly reader explained the effects burning coal and petroleum has on the atmosphere. I was apparently dismayed by this information because I remember it vividly. I remember feeling worried.

In 1965 U.S. President Lyndon Johnson told Congress: “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through…a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”

We know that this planet is pretty small as far as planets go and extremely unique as far as being inhabitable. Since we know good planets are hard to find, you would think the world would find that taking care of this one is much more important than pretty much anything else. Why then would senators boycott a meeting designed to protect the climate of our planet.

We heeded the advice of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher after she explained to the United Nations: “The problem of global climate change is one that affects us all and action will only be effective if it is taken at the international level. It is no good squabbling over who is responsible or who should pay;” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1995.   They concluded that humans are causing global warming, saying: “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

The world is finally deciding we need to do something and our senators are boycotting meetings. Why!!

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee tried to overcome a Republican boycott of a major climate bill. Only one Republican senator even showed up for the meeting, and he stayed just long enough to ask for a five-week delay and more study. (I won’t go as far back as Aristotle, but, it’s been studied) Senator Bernie Sanders lamented the obstruction tactics by what he called “the party of no.” The stalling strategy has so far blocked action on critical issues ranging from health care to global warming. The country, Sanders added, has gone from electing a new president one year ago whose uplifting promise was “yes we can” to the spectacle of a small but stubborn rump group of senators whose motto is “no we won’t.”

So in 2009 our President, along with the other – Group of Eight leaders agreed industrialized nations should cut emissions on average by 80 percent by 2050 and limit warming to a maximum of 2 Celsius above pre-industrial times. The 8 leaders went home to their various congresses and parliaments so we could get it together for our unique planet.

to do list

Our senators are so busy disliking our President that they are forgetting what their job is. I guess the citizens who vote for these senators are so busy disliking our President that they are ignoring scientific facts. I just want to jab my eyes out when I read about crap like this! What would happen to you or me if we didn’t go to work because we didn’t like our boss.  Come to think of it the American public is their boss and we should be outraged.

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